Category Archives: Thanksgiving

A “What If?” Thanksgiving…

Coming up with a clever, catchy “Thanksgiving Day” post can be a little like trying to re-write Gone With The Wind.  Ya just can’t improve on a classic.  I wasn’t even going to try this year.  Frankly, I was kinda “Thanksgiving-ed” out by yesterday.

Although Thanksgiving is traditionally family-oriented and a time to reunite with loved ones and gather around a roast turkey the size of Rhode Island, that’s not how our Thanksgivings typically run.  Parents on both sides have gone on to glory.  We live more than 1,000 miles from our nearest family members.  The rest are flung to the four winds, spread out across the country.  So weren’t not able to get together as often as we’d like, and almost never on Thanksgiving.   Since  my husband is in retail, Thanksgiving weekend is just another work weekend as the store struggles to stay in the black and hopes for a bang-up Christmas season.

So our Thanksgivings are a little… shall we say, “non-Norman Rockwellish”?   (After dinner, our immediate family usually gathers in the living room with pie and hot chocolate  and watches either A Day for Thanks on Walton’s Mountain or It’s A Wonderful Life.  Sometimes both.)

A quick look around “Thanksgiving” in the blogosphere usually brings up something like: “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” Or “How many people are you having over?”  “Are you traveling this Thanksgiving?”  “Who’s going to win the football game?” Or the well-worn classic, “What are you thankful for?”

Not to reiterate the obvious, but Thanksgiving is a holiday set aside to, uh… “give thanks.”  Count our blessings.  Lift our eyes off our self-soaked lives and look up to the Father of every good gift.  All well and good.

So why did I resist taking that route this year?  That route is easy.  Comfortable.  Expected.  It’s also a little … canned.  Predictable.  Rote?  Is that what Thanksgiving has turned into – “giving thanks” by rote – because we’re supposed to?

Lord, have mercy.

So this Thanksgiving, when some of us are still working off that third slice of pumpkin pie or that extra serving of gravy and mashed potatoes that we needed like a hole in the head, how ’bout launching into “thanksgiving mode” year-round instead of just the last part of November?  Rather than relegating thanks-giving to one season or weekend a year, what if we took the first five minutes of each day to lift our hearts to God in honest thanks?  What if we went through each twenty-hour stretch looking for at least one thing, person, or event for which we can be grateful? I don’t mean Pollyanna or pie-in-the-sky bye-and-bye syrupy stuff.  I mean something that requires alertness, deliberation, and exercising our “thankfulness muscles.”  Examples:

– “Lord, thank you for the 39th straight day of rain, a roof that doesn’t leak and the promise of an extra-green spring.”

– “Thank you for my boon canine companion (or feline),” as the case may be.

– “I’m grateful for hot showers and soap after an afternoon on the trail or in the garden!”

– “Thank you for this morning’s sunrise.”

– “Thank you for Corn Flakes and a bowl to eat them out of.”

– “Thank you that although Chris is working today, he had yesterday off to spend with the fam.”

Thanks also for:

Puccini arias, truth, faithfulness, libraries, friends and family, mercy, raspberry white chocolate cheesecake, poetry, lilacs, a good night’s sleep, divine guidance and providence, ice cream and…  what else?

If we develop the daily discipline of deliberate thankfulness, I’m willing to bet we’ll discover whole new horizons of  wonder and beauty that were there all along.  We didn’t see them because we weren’t looking for them. We’ll probably find answers to prayers that we may have forgotten about, splashes of grace and  delight that we somehow overlook in our every day busyness.  We may even experience God in a whole new way as we become intentional about acknowledging Him for Who He is and thanking Him for all He’s done for us.

Norman Rockwell or not, does that sound like an “exercise program” you can sign on to?  Who’s with me?

 

 

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Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

Abraham Lincoln’s presidential proclamation  set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. This proclamation was issued when the country was locked in the deadly grip of Civil War…

In case we’ve forgotten… (Some paragraph breaks added for easier reading.  Emphasis added.)

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the conciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Something to Think About

Glen Woods provides timely “food for thought” regarding kids and Thanksgiving:

“With Thanksgiving just around the corner, children’s ministry leaders and teachers are thinking about how to teach the children under their care about God’s view of giving thanks.

At first blush, it seems simple. For example, we might ask the children to think about what they are thankful for. Cool toys, a nice house, the latest award for sports or the arts, parents, brothers and sisters, the dog, the cat, even the pet lizard that seems to keep ending up on the kitchen counter while Mom and Dad are cooking dinner….”

 

Click here for more: Ministering to Suffering Children This Thanksgiving.

“Imagine…”

This Thanksgiving, “I can only imagine…” (Watch for the shift from B&W to color):

“Surrounded by Your glory

What will my heart feel…?”

“Our” Mountain appears in the video about half-way through, with Tipsoo Lake in the foreground.  🙂