No Service Thursday, 11/24
Dear AIM Body,
Today, many of us will gather with our friends and family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. As we sit around our tables, many will hold hands, bow heads and offer up prayers of Thanksgiving. Do we purposely stop to reflect on the true meaning of thanksgiving? Why is it that our country continues to celebrate something that happened over 200 years ago? Is it simply because our nation’s forefather’s did? Each year, many of us recount the perilous quest the pilgrims made to find religious freedom and of the acts of kindness the native American Indians had shown the white man. That kindness is still remembered today. Some, who are history enthusiasts, continue on with the celebration because of the historical Act of Congress, in which George Washington declared a national day of “Thanksgiving and Prayer” to be observed on Thursday, November 26th, 1789? Washington proclaimed that Thanksgiving Day was to “…be devoted to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the Author of all the good that was, that is and that will be…” So, what is your reason for celebrating Thanksgiving?
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes the word “thanksgiving” as “the act of giving thanks” and “a prayer expressing gratitude.” Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “thanksgiving as “a public celebration of Divine goodness…especially, to acknowledge the goodness of God, either in any remarkable deliverance from calamities or danger or in the ordinary dispensation of His bounties…”
As Americans and believers in Christ, we have so many things for which we can be thankful. If we stopped to name them all, they would be too numerable to count. However, the act of beginning a list can be uplifting and truly humbling, at the same time. As our family sits around our Thanksgiving table, giving thanks for the things our Heavenly Father has done during the past year, we will be recounting the blessings of loved ones and dear friends in our lives. As well, we will recall many answered prayers and promises of our good and loving Heavenly Father.
As we do these things, we begin to see just how much the Father truly loves His children. Today, I began a list of some of the eternal things that God, our Heavenly Father, has done for us. These are blessings with eternal consequences. Feel free to add to this list because there are too many to number!
- For Salvation and Eternal Life through our Savior Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17, II Corinthians 5:17)
- For Forgiveness and Restoration through the blood of Jesus ( Romans 5:1, I John 1:8-10 & Matthew 6:14-15)
- For Life and Health (Exodus 23:25, Proverbs 4:20, John 1:4)
- For Emotional Wellness (Galatians 5:22-23, Isaiah 26:3, Proverbs 14:30) for
- For Protection (Isaiah 41:10, Deuteronomy 23:14)
- For Meeting All Needs (Philippians 4:19)
- For a Personal Relationship with Him (Revelation 3:20, John 14:21)
- For Wisdom (James 1:5, Proverbs 2:7-12)
- For Righteous Judgement and Justice (John 7:24 & Psalm 103:6)
- For the Word of God (John 31-32 & Isaiah 55:10-11)
There are many, many more reasons for which we can give thanks. I would like to encourage each and every one of you to stop and reflect on your reasons to be thankful, not just on Thanksgiving Day but each and every day. You see, it is our Heavenly Father who said, in I Thessalonians 5:16-18, to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you, in Christ Jesus.” The Father knows that “thankfulness” keeps the heart loving, pure, humble and teachable. He knows that heartfelt prayer can keep His children free from sin, envy and jealousy. The Father is not saying “be thankful for all things,” but He is saying “be thankful during and through all things.” We need to keep in mind that God is not the “cause” of all things but He is the solution for all things. Remember, it is “the thief who comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy; I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Jesus said He is “…the Way, the Truth and the Life…” (John 14:6) If we seek Him first, in all things, He will give us all that we need and more pertaining to this life and towards His kingdom of righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) He is our source of Living Water and Bread of Life; He offers sustenance through all situations, during times of drought and plenty. For this and more, we can all truly be thankful and rejoice. May the Father bless and keep you! Happy Thanksgiving!
With His Love and Great Expectations, (John 14:12)
(P.S.) Please, see below for an attachment of George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation.
By the PRESIDENT of the United States of America, George Washington
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789