The last Thursday in November was officially established as an annual holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, but it was celebrated for many years before that. Almost every President since Washington had issued a yearly proclamation. The first time was in the 1600s and it was in June. All the proclamations had one thing in common, thanking God for his favor and bounty.
Nowadays it’s a time for families to gather around and reflect on what they have to be thankful for. Unless they’re on TV, in which case they gather around for food fights. But most families take the time to thank Father for all the blessings of the year. The media hype centers more on being thankful for this wonderful country we live in. Granted, America is a spectacular place to live, but at Thanksgiving that should be the least of our thankfulness.
It shouldn’t just be at Easter and Christmas that we fully reflect on God. That we center our thought processes around the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to actually be thankful for Jesus. For the grace that saves us, in spite of ourselves. For the love that keeps us safe and for the gift of eternal life.
My Grandfather always said grace on Thanksgiving. My mom said it always ended the same way. “Praise the Lord and pass the black-eyed peas.” In the prayer before the dinner, most families will mention the wonderfully cooked meal. But it’s not just about the food, is it? In November, at Thanksgiving, a month away from the traditional Jesus focus, we should be thankful for His life. For the period between the birth and resurrection. For all the little things He did and does for us. And, of course, for the turkey.