In the Old Testament there were commands for giving thanks to God, as well as New Testament guidelines. That we take time to give thanks is of vital importance–it not only gives the praise where it’s due, it helps us refocus. To get our priorities straight. To really enjoy what we have been given rather than thinking only of what we yet need.
I really love that our country has a history of setting aside a day for this–that some of the first settlers were here to seek free worship of God, and that they honored him for his faithfulness, in spite of the hardships.
I find it even more inspiring that there were people like Sarah Hale who cared enough about this tradition to fight for it. She first succeeded in getting each state to recognize the day, then, eventually, convinced President Lincoln to have the nation honor it as one. At a time when the country was torn by war, this was a monumental moment, one that helped us heal.
In some ways, Thanksgiving is viewed as a “second-rate” holiday to modern people–it doesn’t require presents, and in fact is often lost in the anticipation for Black Friday–and for Christmas. It only rates as a chance to host an elaborate meal.
But I remember my own childhood, when I sat back in my room one Thanksgiving smelling that wonderful turkey, knowing that soon my family would be coming. I remember spending some time writing a story about a girl named Felicia, which I knew meant something like “happy.” I remember cutting out some construction paper turkeys for all my family members. And I remember thinking, “This is one of the happiest days in the year. Where everyone just comes over to be together.”
I still love the holiday for that very reason. It’s a chance to come together with those I love and just be. Be there. Be together. Be thankful for all the Lord has given me.
Thank you, Father, for putting me in a country with such a history of recognizing You.