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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remembering, Reliving and Revering

        It is almost Thanksgiving.  People are making plans for the holiday; Americans are making plans.  Wherever they live, Americans will be searching for a turkey or a substitute and pumpkin pie, or something reasonably like it, and will be inviting friends and family to join in the festivities...but, are they really.  Christmas decorations have been up in the stores all month.  Children are making Christmas lists.  Churches are thinking about pageants and music.  Some people are thinking about snow and the fun and others are thinking about how to get away from it.  In the midst of all this, it seems that we have forgotten what November 24, 2011 is about.  It is the one day we, as American, set aside to thank God, upon Whom our country was founded, for His provision to us this year.  If we have not given Him a thought til now, this is the one day, not the 52 other Sundays of the year, that we think about our Creator and Provider and say thank you.
        The first year, the year in which Thanksgiving began, the Pilgrims, who were spiritually-minded, suffered immensely.  One hundred and four people set out for a new world where there would be religious freedom.  They had experienced persecution in Europe for their religious beliefs and were seeking a new home.  They landed on a new continent and built a fort and houses and sought to plant and grow crops.  Many times the crops failed and after their initial fear of the natives, some tentative steps toward friendship were made and counsel was given by these native residents of their new home as to how to plant and grow crops.  By the end of that first year, fifty-two people, men, women and children, had survived and chose to give thanks to God their Provider.
        What does this have to do with us 400 years later?  Well maybe we don't have to grow our own crops.  Maybe we don't have to build our own houses, or make our own clothes, or chop our own wood.  Maybe the natives are no longer timid or scary or heathen.  However, we still have received these things and have survived another year to tell others about it.  Did we provide our own homes or food or clothes?  Did we create our own jobs or teach our own children or doctor our own sick?  I must say, and all would if they were humble enough to admit it, that each of these came as gifts to us from our Creator and Provider and Sustainer.  If you cannot admit that, then you do not need to celebrate Thanksgiving.  However, if you are humble enough to admit that you are not the provider of your own welfare, then Thanksgiving is the day which you set aside time to allow your mind to peruse the last year and all the benefices that came to you and all the endurance that you were given in hard times and then to cast thanks to the One who has provided for all your needs and often has given you more than you could have ever considered asking for.
        Thanksgiving is a time to cast back and remember and then to pronounce thanks to our God.  So, as you prepare the feast or sit back and smell the aromas or taste the succulence of the food, give a thought to Who has, in His onmiscient wisdom and knowledge, provided enough for you to make it through another year.  Give thanks and praise to our Father God.  Then, after ample time is spent on remembrance and thanks, we can look forward to celebrating the birth of a King.