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Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

USA THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION

The first formal National proclamation of Thanksgiving was given in the United States by President George Washington who declared Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. He proclaimed a second day of Thanksgiving in 1795, following the defeat of the Whiskey Rebellion.

After Washington left office, John Adams, James Madison, and others intermediately declared days of Thanksgiving. Several presidents actually opposed days of national thanksgiving, with Thomas Jefferson openly denouncing such a proclamation. By 1855, 16 states celebrated Thanksgiving (14 on the fourth Thursday of November, and two on the third).

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln established observing specific days of national thanksgiving. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving from the fourth to the third Thursday in November!

In 1941, to end any confusion, President FDR and Congress established Thanksgiving as a United States federal holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, which is how it stands today. (Read the First Proclamation below.)

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The First National Thanksgiving Proclamation

By President George Washington

26 November 1789

 

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 signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

-President George Washington

 

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Source: Wikipedia and various sites on the internet.

 

 

My Thanksgiving Reflections Outside America

On Thanksgiving Day in November 2002, after teaching my three classes at the Bible College from 8am to 3pm, a taxi took me about 45 minutes across the city to join missionaries who were celebrating American Thanksgiving, complete with turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie.

Although not my first time in Africa, it was my first time to celebrate Thanksgiving outside America. I was overwhelmed that day by the sight and smell of familiar food but also by the gratitude those missionaries expressed for blessings. I was thankful the missionaries were able to join together and celebrate the Thanksgiving of their homeland—one of the few days each year they had such a bountiful spread. It was a special privilege for me to be included as a member of their team and family.

That American Thanksgiving dinner at the missionary’s home was perhaps the most significant Thanksgiving I’ve celebrated in my life. We ate at a table of plenty in the midst of a people in the village who had neither a table nor plenty. We sat on chairs whose legs rested on a tiled floor in the midst of a people who lived in huts with dirt for floors. Electricity was intermittent. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. Most huts had one bare bulb hanging down in the middle of the room. Temperatures in the tropics were always hot and air conditioning to ease perspiration was virtually non-existent. Termite mounds were as tall as the huts.

There was an obvious contrast to be seen between American prosperity and the lack among nearby residents, many who did not have an indoor toilet or running water. In most areas, a water pump could be found, but there was no choice of hot or cold water. Pumped water was poured into a large tub outside the hut in full view of passers-by, and the children in the family were immersed and washed one after the other. For sure, they had not experienced a table spread with an abundance and variety of foods from which they could eat until there was no room to take another bite.

Many developing countries have struggled to empower their people across all socioeconomic groups. There are those of higher rank who live well and shop freely, yet a large percentage of their citizens live below poverty level. On every trip I’ve made to one of these countries,  I came back to the comfort of my home in America with an overwhelming feeling of God’s mercy and provision. Why us?

I think this question was answered several years ago by a visiting teacher from Nigeria. I asked what made him want to come to the USA, to which he responded: “I read about America and their God and how He was blessing them. The more I read, the more I determined to come to America and meet their God. I thought perhaps I could convince Him to come back to Africa with me and prosper my country.”

Those of us in America would do well to ponder the Nigerian brother’s words. The American holiday of Thanksgiving traces its roots all the way back to 1621, when colonists held a harvest feast with local natives. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln declared an official Thanksgiving Day in late November. In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt consented to make it an official holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November. Over the years, due to financial prosperity and advanced technology, specific traditions and customs associated with the holiday have evolved from watching afternoon football games to marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The basic components of the holiday, celebrating food and the fall harvest and giving thanks with family, have remained over time.

My research came up nine other countries of the world that celebrate a National Thanksgiving Day: Canada, China, Germany, Grenada, Japan, Norfolk Island, South Korea, Liberia, and Viet Nam.* In all due respect, neither the United States or any other country can lay claim to “thanksgiving.” Verses are scattered throughout the bible reminding us to be thankful, to come to God with thanksgiving in our hearts, to give thanks for all of His wonderful gifts. Whether poor or rich with wealth, whether sick or ill in health, our hearts should be full of thanksgiving to our God for giving His Son with thanksgiving so that we might have life abundantly here and now: A life that carries us into life eternally with no distinctions between us and any other of His children who inherit eternal life.

Reflect on His grace and mercy and express thanksgiving to Him! Here are a few scriptures to fuel your thanksgiving:

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD. –Ezra 3:11

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. – Psa. 69:30

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. -Psa. 95:2

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. –Psa.100:4

From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. –Jer. 30:19

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. – 2 Cor. 4:15

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 Cor. 9:11

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. –Eph.5:4 3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. –Phil.4:6

 

(c) C. Yvonne Karl, Reprinted 11/14/19 from The Alabaster Box, Vol. 25 No. 11.

yvonnekarl@gmail.com

 

America, Give Thanks!

Having traveled to several countries around the world, I can tell you first hand that we have much for which to be thankful in our country. Even with the economic downturn in nearly every state of the Union, we are blessed with an abundance in our grocery stores, shopping centers, and commercial markets. We have bathrooms in our homes complete with flushing toilets. On cold, frigid nights, even the homeless can usually find shelters to sleep in and soup kitchens to serve them a meal. I have been in countries where the store shelves were virtually empty, one-room homes had only a dirt floor, no running water was available, and urinals and toilets were non-existent. Amidst all the complaints of unemployment and foreclosures, we’re still abundantly blessed with the necessities and conveniences of life.

However, the most treasured gift of all is our freedom of religion. Our forefathers cherished religious freedom and attributed to Almighty God the success in their private and public lives.

This Thanksgiving–and every day–we must remember, “It is a GOOD thing to give thanks unto the Lord!” (Psalm 92)

(Click on Thanksgiving Reflections below to read about my Thanksgiving in a third world country)

Thanksgiving Reflections

(Click on Biblical Thanksgiving below to worship the Lord with thanksgiving.)

Biblical Thanksgiving

 

Note: First article above (c) C. Yvonne Karl, Reprinted from The Alabaster Box, Vol. 25 No. 11

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