Yes, I know it’s only the beginning of November and it’s going to be near 90 degrees here in the next couple of days, but I am ready to break out the Christmas music and decorations!! No, I am not going to skip over Thanksgiving. Quite the opposite….I’m ready for that, too! I’ve already started gathering up food for our Thanksgiving meal…. Much like they did in the olden days! Well, not quite like the olden days. I must admit, I was absolutely worn out after 2 grocery stores and 2 baskets full of groceries to load, unload and put away…..but, I am SOOOO thankful I didn’t have to pick, shuck, and silk all of that corn AND there was a big sale on for the corn I usually buy!! I think I let out a little “hallelujah” right there in the store! (We eat a lot of corn here.)
Anyway, back to the holiday spirit. I have always looked forward to it but Thanksgiving means so much more to me than it ever use to. It means more than our family favorites: Mama’s chicken & dressing & home-made rolls, my aunt’s orange congealed salad, my sister’s pecan pie, and all the other goodies that we enjoy together. The reason it has come to mean so much is because I’m more aware of everything we have, from the food on the table to the family that surrounds it, as being Blessings from our Father in Heaven. The most important of Blessings for any of us is found in His ultimate act of grace toward us when He sent His Son from the glory of Heaven to take on human flesh and live among us on earth, for the sole purpose of restoring our broken relationships with Him. If we haven’t accepted that gift, all the rest of it won’t matter. All that we have is His and rightfully so. So, I almost can’t separate the heart of Thanksgiving with the meaning of Christmas. I love O Holy Night…..My absolute favorite Christmas song. What a Holy Night it was when God came down to us. It deserves to be all out celebrated and the miracle remembered every year.
In Deuteronomy, the Israelites were commanded, as long as they lived in the promise land, to meet every 7 years at the feasts of booths and re-read aloud the books of the law. It was not just to remember what all they were commanded to do…though that was VERY important….but to remember what they had been saved from and how their God loved them and had sustained them and even miraculously provided for them. They so easily forgot. Sound familiar? It was also important so the children who hadn’t yet heard it could, “hear and learn to fear the Lord their God” (Deu 31:13). Even the sojourners were to be included.
When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you? ’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us. 20 “
Really hear the wording President Lincoln chose when he instituted Thanksgiving as an annual Holiday:
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 defense, 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 consiousness 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, tranquillity 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
I just love how all throughout the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord repeatedly commands them, “and you shall eat and drink before the Lord Your God.” He delights in our celebrations of Thanksgiving and He is very much present. He has always delighted in that fellowship. I think the more yummy noises we make, the better! :) We should enjoy ourselves!! I heard a story on the radio the other day that a man shared about never forgetting his grandfather telling him just before passing away, "Enjoy your life!!! The Lord will take care of you!" The Israelites had a hard time grasping that. We still do today. This Thanksgiving..... let's remember.
Because, you see, now we can freely fellowship with Him, not because of the old covenant of the laws and the yearly prayers and sacrifices offered by high priests on our behalf, but because we accepted His gift of grace in the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb on the Cross for all of our sins. That is how we are able to receive His blessings now and “eat and drink before the Lord our God”. So, when we fuss about people (as I use to do) for putting up their Christmas decorations a bit too early….let’s just celebrate along with them as we drive by!:) As a matter of fact, I think it should be a year-round celebration! Joy to the World in June! J