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4th Thursday of November

A Day to be Thankful

Nov. 28, 2002

  Thanksgiving is a day we celebrate the blessings of the year. God has given us so much. We have nothing to fear for the future except that we might forget what He has done for us in the past. 

  Can you think of some good things God did for you this year? Did you have any times that you almost had an accident? Were there times you needed something and God helped you get it?

  Being thankful is one part of what we can do. We also look for pleasant things to do together with the children on Thanksgiving. Good things to eat are prepared and a picnic is planned with some outdoor activity. Perhaps we would do well to explore what we are doing as we spend this holiday as a family. Looking at what Jesus did, we would expect He would be looking for someone to help.

Historically in our country

In the early years of our country, the pilgrims came on the Mayflower to America. It took 65 days and they were really tired of being on that ship by the time they arrived. They had begun on September 6 of 1620. Four years before they arrived, Captain John Smith had explored and had named the famous Plymouth harbor. This is where the pilgrims made their home. Their first winter was so harsh, many did not survive.
An Indian called Samoset welcomed them and soon he brought his friend Squanto. They were happy to teach the pilgrims how to survive. The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. They invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration. Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October.

In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

The first thanksgiving their feast had wild ducks and geese cooked and fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, venison and plums.

  In 1623, during a severe drought, the pilgrims gathered in a prayer service, praying for rain. When a long, steady rain followed the very next day, Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of Thanksgiving, again inviting their Indian friends. It wasn't until June of 1676 that another Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed.

We have a lady to thank for getting the day set aside for a special day of Thanksgiving in America. It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, whose efforts eventually led to what we recognize as Thanksgiving. Hale wrote many editorials  in her Boston Ladies' Magazine, and later, in Godey's Lady's Book. Finally, after a 40-year campaign of writing  to governors and presidents,  President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.

Some have wondered where the strange shaped horn of plenty came from. It is called CORNUCOPIA, korn-yoo-KO-pee-uh;
It is a symbol of Thanksgiving. It is a decorative motif, originating in ancient Greece, that symbolizes abundance. The original cornucopia was a curved goat's horn filled to overflowing with fruit and grain. This symbol came from Greek mythology and not from any Christian background. It symbolizes the horn possessed by Zeus's nurse, the Greek nymph Amalthaea, which could be filled with whatever the owner wished.

What does the Bible say about being thankful?

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: . . . . being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God." 2 Corinthians 8:7, 11, 12; 9:8-11. 
Deut. 26:11 And thou shalt rejoice in every good [thing] which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that [is] among you. 
In Leviticus chapter 7, the Bible mentions the needed offerings of Thanksgiving that were to be taken to the sanctuary. When we remember to thank God for things, He is so happy He wants to give us more.
At the very beginning of his first letter the aged servant of God ascribed to his Lord a tribute of praise and thanksgiving. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," he exclaimed, "which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:5{AA 517.2}

How Should Christian Families Celebrate Thanksgiving ?

As God wants us to?

Should We Eat So Much?

My favorite Christian author, Ellen White has this to say about Thanksgiving: "Our Thanksgiving is approaching. Will it be, as it has been in many instances, a thanksgiving to ourselves? Or will it be a thanksgiving to God? Our Thanksgivings may be made seasons of great profit to our own souls as well as to others if we improve this opportunity to remember the poor among us. . . . 
   There are a hundred ways that can be devised to help the poor in so delicate a manner as to make them feel that they are doing us a favor by receiving our gifts and sympathy. We are to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The attentions of our brethren are most liberal to those whom they wish to honor, and whose respect they desire, but who do not need their help at all. Custom and fashion say, Give to those who will give to you; but this is not the Bible rule of giving. The word of God declares against this way of gratifying self in thus bestowing our gifts, and says, "He that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want." 
  Now a season is coming when we shall have our principles tested. Let us begin to think what we can do for God's needy ones. We can make them through ourselves the recipients of God's blessings. Think what widow, what orphan, what poor family you can relieve, not in a way to make a great parade about the matter, but be as a channel through which the Lord's substance shall flow as a blessing to His poor. . . . 
  But this does not embrace all your duty. Make an offering to your best Friend; acknowledge His bounties; show your gratitude for His favors; bring a thank offering to God. . . . Brethren and sisters, eat a plain dinner on Thanksgiving Day, and with the money you would spend in extras with which to indulge the appetite, make a thank offering to God. 
Let not any more Thanksgiving days be observed to please and gratify the appetite and glorify self. We have reason for coming into the courts of the Lord with offerings of gratitude that He has preserved our lives another year. . . . If a feast is to be made, let it be for those who are in need.
{AH 475.2} Adventist Home by Ellen White