“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15
It was less than two months since my dad’s death. Shortly before that my father-in-law had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Thanksgiving was a difficult time. Our families gathered in the usual fashion, but there was a damper on the usually boisterous groups. Pain, loss and questions filled our hearts and minds.
Looking back sixteen years, I remember feeling as if I was in a fog for months, sort of operating on auto-pilot. The only thing I can clearly recall is a painful recognition that nothing would ever be the same again and a desperate longing for the way things used to be, but we could be thankful for those two precious men and God’s presence.
The two most famous proclamations of thanksgiving in our country were not made during times of great joy and celebration, but following times of great hardship and suffering marked by the recognition that God is good even when circumstances are not.
William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony, issued his proclamation of thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621. Almost a year following their landing at Plymouth Rock, only 44 remained of the Pilgrims’ original number of 102, due to malnutrition, scurvy and other illnesses. They had survived partly due to the kindness of the Native Americans of the area, in particular, Squanto and Massasoit.
When Abraham Lincoln gave his Proclamation creating the national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, the celebration took place only one week after his dedication of the cemetery at
, “In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity.” Gettysburg
We can identify far more easily with the loss of the Pilgrims and our predecessors of
’s time than with the perfect families in television commercials and Hallmark movies. The writer of Hebrews says we are to offer thanks as a sacrifice. At the cost of our own personal feelings, our thanks should be based in the person of our Lord and Savior who gave His life that we might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Our thanks is not based in outward circumstances or the bounty of good things we possess, but the person of Jesus Christ. Lincoln
This year, look at the things God says we should be thanking Him for. Take time to go around the table and comment on what God has done for you in spite of the difficulties of life. Rejoice in Him.
’s “Thanksgiving Day Proclamation”) Lincoln
Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston-Holtman & 2MefromHim Ministries, 2011. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission of author.