I remember when growing up as a boy in the USA, Thanksgiving was a holiday I looked forward to nearly as much as Christmas. I loved the fall season with its dramatic colors: the browns and yellows, oranges and reds, as the hardwood trees of the Ohio Valley burst forth with praises of thanks to God for the warm and sunny summer He had just given them. One last attestation to the glory of God before finally shedding their leaves and letting them float down to fertilize the ground.
I loved seeing the haystacks in the fields and the cornucopia with its overflowing goodness and visions of prosperity. But mostly I loved the drive over to Grandma’s house and the anticipation that would build as Grandpa carved the turkey, and all the aunts, uncles, and cousins were called to take their seat at the large dining table.
We kids would respectfully bow our heads as Grandpa reverently thanked God for the food and another year of His abundant provision. Then everyone would wait as patiently as possible for the serving plates to be passed around, my eye being intently focused on the large bowl of Grandma’s special turkey stuffing!
While many countries around the world have a day of giving thanks, the American Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The original Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims following their first harvest in the New World. It was established as a federal holiday in 1863 when then President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
I hope that people who celebrate Thanksgiving Day in these more modern times are indeed remembering the One from whom all blessings flow. It’s wonderful that one day a year has been set aside for people to give thanks, but the Bible actually admonishes God’s children to give thanks at all times and in everything, not just once a year.1
Quite some time has passed since I was a boy sitting at Grandma’s dining table asking for seconds on stuffing, and the things I’m most thankful for now are good health, a loving wife, and simply another day of life to serve our “beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
1. See 1 Thessalonians 5:18.