Billy Ray Parrish
“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
With Thanksgiving around the corner, there is much to be thankful for but for many, life is too hectic to see the many wonders that are present. While life has a way of getting us down and making us forget about our blessings, there are days that allow us to sit back and reminisce on these blessings such as Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, the older that I grow the more that I realize people have forgotten the true meaning of Thanksgiving and why we gather together to celebrate this wonderful holiday. Sometimes, to truly appreciate and understand the value of something, we have to be reminded of how something came to be which is a problem for many younger people as history is not considered to be relevant to today’s society. Thanksgiving, which dates all the way back to the Civil War, is as important as its history is long.
Up until the American Revolution in 1777, the nation did not celebrate a day of thanks together (annually) and despite the fact, the War did bring us together, the tradition that we know today still had not come about until 1863 while under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s hope was to boost American morale which was very low; perhaps lost even, due to the fact the country was engaged in the American Civil War and proclaimed a day of thanks to be observed.
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
—2 Corinthians 9:11
For 75 years following Lincoln’s proclamation, the president annually announced his Thanksgiving proclamation and the governors would follow suit and proclaim the day of thanks for their state. However, in 1939, this was not the case as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s proclamation declared that Thanksgiving would be observed on the third Thursday of 1939 which moved the Thanksgiving celebration from November 30th to November 23rd of that year.
This story is significant because the first official Thanksgiving came about during some of the worse situations and circumstances that one could imagine. The Civil War literally divided families as fathers, sons, and brothers were split up to fight on different sides of the war and for many of those who survived the nation’s greatest conflict, life was never the same, again. Therefore, it was significant for the nation’s people to take their minds off their troubles and, even if for just a short time, be thankful for what they had.
If we fast forward nearly one-hundred and sixty (160) years, although the situations and circumstances have changed, many are unable to see all the good they have. Personally, I have observed that as a group of people; as a nation, we have so much in our lives but sadly, the more that people have, the less thankful they are. Too many people, whether young or old, act as though they have nothing significant enough to be thankful for and this not only makes life less thrilling but also, impacts our health and state of mind.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”