BY CHARLES WOODRUFF
As we approach Thanksgiving Day 2008, let’s take a moment to reflect on the Goodness of God. To many, this day means only “Turkey Day” with everyone gorging themselves with a huge meal. Then there are the football games, big movie openings, and overall a big holiday, while preparing for shopping on “Black Friday”, the day merchants live for all year that will put their revenues “in the black” as they kick off Christmas sales in earnest (even though the Christmas merchandising began with some stores in late August).
Commercialization was certainly not the goal of the first Thanksgiving back in Plymouth colony in the autumn of 1621. (click for a concise account of Thanksgiving Day’s history) http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm
Some of the stories written about Plymouth, the Pilgrims, and even the Mayflower totally ignore the religious aspect of it all in keeping with today’s totally insane “political correctness”. But the fact is, the Pilgrims, who were English Puritan separatists, came to America to find freedom to worship God Almighty. They had been persecuted in England, disappointed in the general carnality of Dutch life, even though they had more freedom in Holland. So they contracted a sailing vessel to strike out for the new world with a hope of freely serving God, and building their own society here.
The Mayflower Compact, which they drew up on the way over, is one of the bedrocks of America’s foundation, for they set up a “civil body politick” which was the first sort of a “declaration of independence”. It expressed their determination to govern themselves under God, with due allegiance to the British government. It begins unlike any secular document, with these words “In ye name of God, amen”.
Thus it began, and upon arrival in the new world they landed briefly at Cape Cod, finally settled at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and after losing 46 of the original 102 passengers, the rest struggled to survive. They were provided help by the local native Indians. One year later they gathered all over the colony for meals shared with the native Wampanoag. It lasted for several days straight, giving thanks and remembrance of God’s blessings on them all. It did not become a tradition until a few years later (more online info about this first feast).
Things I am thankful for include:
-My dear wife of almost 47 years, and how she has been faithful and true.
-My four children, three of which survive. All have declared faith in Christ.
-My twelve grandchildren. They are all precious to me.
-Our church where Christ is preached, and the brothers and sisters there.
-The renewed ministry God has given me in writing and pulpit.
-Many brothers and sisters in various places who pray for me.
-A land that still has much freedom, though it is being undermined, and in danger.
-I am thankful for generally good health for my wife and myself.
-The graciousness and mercy of God every day that I live.
These are just a few of the many things for which I thank God. As you enjoy this Thanksgiving, hopefully with your family, take time to reflect on the mercies of God in your own life, as well as a prayer for our nation and it’s future, and the cause of God and truth through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (First Thessalonians 5:18).
“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
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