Thanksgiving Day clearly has its roots in the idea of a fall harvest festival. It was traditionally, and still is, a time to give thanks for both the harvest and for life in general. In the United States it still remains the most unencumbered of all our special holidays. Little commercialization has tainted it and most of us look forward to it, unless we have painful memories of family or loss that we associate with the day. The day had religious association in American history but much of this has now been lost to secular forces of change. Still in all it retains a charm and a simplicity that most Christians can and do appreciate.
Most of us associate this day with the fall celebration of thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621. The connection of this event with our modern celebration is as much myth as fact but the link remains in most of our minds.
Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that “No citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day” but it wasn’t until decades later that turkey became a staple of Thanksgiving celebrations. The national holiday was established by President Lincoln in 1863, at a time when the nation was badly torn asunder by war.
For the Christian each day should be a time for thanksgiving but this national holiday is a welcome time for our family and friends. Here positive memories and spiritual realities can take on special meaning for each of us. Here we can enjoy food, friendship and gratitude as God’s people. May you have such a blessed day with your family, or some family, as you give thanks for all the manifold blessings you enjoy this year. Enjoy the good food, give thanks to God and celebrate his goodness to you with great joy!