Posted by: SandreS | November 24, 2010

Un-Thanksgiving Day

The exact origin of Thanksgiving Day is debatable. Many Americans hold that the first celebration took place in 1621, at Plymouth Plantation, in Massachusetts. Although some believe that the first official Thanksgiving Day in America was established by the Virginian settlers at Berkeley Plantation on December 4, 1619, a year before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth. Their Proclamation on the banks of the James River was:

Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.

Many years later the Continental Congress made a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1782, followed by a Presidential one in 1789, by George Washington,

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Thanksgiving Day has been observed on various dates throughout the history of the United States. It was not until 1941 that the United States Congress established it as a national holiday to be held annually on the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving Day vs. Daily Thanksgiving

Many years ago as a teenager, after reading Paul’s many exhortations to continued thanksgiving, the thought occurred to me: Instead of one day dedicated to “thanksgiving,” wouldn’t we be better off dedicating one day to murmuring and complaining, and the remaining 364 to thanksgiving? Instead of a special day of thanksgiving, why not make every day a holiday of thanksgiving as unto the Lord?

Now obviously it would be ludicrous to have a day set aside for complaining, but is it any more ludicrous than devoting only one day to thanksgiving. I am certainly not advocating a day of complaining; but it is a thought that has returned to me every year of my adult life. Although I certainly enjoy a day to break from the normal activities of life and spend it with family and friends, is not “normal” life the real place to give true thanksgiving? Should we not be thankful every day? Should we not have a heart of gratitude even in the middle of trials? Should not every day, for the believer, be Thanksgiving?

One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. (Romans 14:5).

Clearly, as believers we are not bound my man’s traditions, national or otherwise. Why not, then, joining with our Apostle of Thanksgiving, let us rise to a much higher plane and make every single day our own special holiday of Thanksgiving to the Lord? Let’s devote all of our days to giving Him the worship of thanks.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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