Weekly Devotional 11-21-22 The Celebration of Thanksgiving
In three days we Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday that originated with the Colonists on December 4th, 1619, at Berkeley Hundred, Virginia. The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as “a day of thanksgiving” to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodleaf held a service of thanksgiving. Quoting from the section of the Charter of Berkeley Hundred he said, “We ordain that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
The modern Thanksgiving traces its origins from a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. This continued in later years. first as an impromptu religious observance, and later as a civil tradition. On November 26th, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that this observance would be a national holiday of thanksgiving. (“Thanksgiving.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.)
With this as a background, I come to the point of this week’s devotional. To many, God is dead or not relevant. Thanksgiving, like Christmas, has become a civil holiday not a religious observance. This was borne out by last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. There was not one float that was of a religious nature nor was there one mention of God by those who were commentators of the parade. Thanksgiving has merely become a civil holiday to many.
Thanksgiving Day is also the day in which many begin putting up their holiday lights and displays. (Please note, to make a point I use the expression holiday lights and displays instead of Christmas lights and displays.) This same reality will be heard in greetings being exchanged between many people. They will say, “Have a great holiday” instead of saying, “Merry Christmas.” Now I realize that there are many restrictions placed on people by our “politically correct” national leaders, or employers who are in fear of violating some ordinance or other, but there are plenty of opportunities to exchange “Christian” greetings; especially between those who claim to be Christians. To many people, God is not only insignificant in their lives, but dead.
This should not be so in our lives, that is, we who are “born again” Christians. We should look for every opportunity to express our thankfulness to God and our devotion to Him. We should be “instant in season and out of season” (see 2nd Timothy 4:2) to proclaim the glories of Jesus our Savior. It was He that did for humanity what humanity could not do for themselves. He gave up the glories of heaven to become flesh so that He could die to satisfy God’s justice. The apostle John wrote, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God…. 14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-2….14a NKJV). And later he gave us the words of John the Baptist, who speaking of Jesus said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, 36). What a realization by the Baptist and what an exclamation.
John, the Apostle, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote that this Lamb “was slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8b). This Lamb was slain in the mind of God before He created the world and in time, He slew the Lamb to pay the price of the salvation for those whom He would bring to saving faith in His only begotten Son. Wow! Yet, many this Thanksgiving will give the Son no regard at all.
Let this not be true of you or me. May we make Him pre-eminent in our thoughts and our doings.
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man