Two things that I have noticed: Each year, more and more people comment to me that they feel that God is distant and irrelevant to their lives; and each year, more people are calling Thanksgiving, “Turkey Day” instead of “Thanksgiving Day”. I wonder – could these two observations be related?
Most schoolchildren learn that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims and the native American Indians, to give thanks to God for food, health, harvest, and divine protection in the New World. Historical records indicate that just such a Thanksgiving feast was held in the fall of 1621 by the colonists of the Plymouth Plantation.
In October 1789, President Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Day proclamation: “A Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer”. Washington’s proclamation sets aside Thursday, November 26th as the holiday. Over time, Thanksgiving came to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November rather than on the 26th of November. (A copy of the original proclamation can be viewed here.)
The early colonists and settlers understood something that we seem to have forgotten – it is good to give thanks to God! How would you feel if you gave someone an expensive present, and they never said “thank you”? That person probably would not be your friend for very long! An attitude of ingratitude breaks down friendships and can destroy relationships. An attitude of gratitude, however, builds up friendships and relationships. Gratitude is a key – a key that unlocks the heart of another.
When we give thanks to God, we are turning the key of gratitude. It unlocks the door of communication between us and God. Thanksgiving isn’t about turkey, but it is about turning a key – the key of gratitude to God for all of His blessings to us! As we give thanks to God, we will find that the relationship between us and God can be renewed and restored! Remember – if God seems far away, He’s not the one who moved!
Make this Thanksgiving a Turn-key Day!