On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!
By Joanna Fuchs
William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony
To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
First National Thanksgiving Proclamation, George Washington in 1779
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; Whereas, both the 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 and 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 next, to be devoted by the people of the 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.
Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863
After George Washington authorized the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789, 74 years passed without another such day of thanks. Then, Abraham Lincoln authorized our annual Thanksgiving Day in 1863. He did this in the midst of the Civil War.
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 defence, 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 every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Forgive Me When I Whine
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her — she seemed so gay, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet — the world is mine.
And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, “It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find”; he turned and said, “Oh, thank you sir.” And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.
Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I’d go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine. Source Unknown
True Gratitude, Melody Beattie
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
The Blessing Jar by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
My normally quiet house is bustling with activity as I’ve got lots of company spending the week here, with more expected this weekend. It looks like we’ll have fifteen to twenty people of all ages together for Thanksgiving dinner.
Last year, after a wonderful meal around candlelit tables, we gathered in the living room on sofas, chairs, and the floor. I printed out the following questions on slips of paper and put them in a “Blessing Jar.”
We passed the Blessing Jar around, and one at a time, different people (including children) picked a question out of the jar. Then, a few shared their response to that question. It was a sweet time of reflecting on God’s goodness and blessings in our lives over the past year.
Here are the questions I included in the Blessing Jar:
Name a song that has been a blessing to you this year.
Name one friend who has been a blessing to you this year.
What is one book that has been a blessing to you this year?
Share a Bible verse that has been a blessing to you this year.
Share one special memory from the past year for which you are grateful.
What is something about your church that has been a blessing to you this year?
How have you seen the heart of Jesus in a member of your family?
What is one financial or material blessing from the past year for which you are grateful?
How have you seen God at work in the life of an unbeliever this year?
What is one area of your life where you have seen God at work this year?
What is one answer to prayer you have experienced this year?
Share something from the past year that has been “hard,” for which you are grateful.
Blessing Box by Glenda Embree
We’re freshly moved and almost completely unpacked. As I sit here this morning, it occurs to me that we don’t have a Blessing Box this year. When our grown daughters were small we started this tradition. Over the years, we have had times when we were so caught up in life and just getting through it, that we didn’t really stop to enjoy everything in a day that is a blessing, a gift. There are so many, no matter what your present circumstances. A Blessing Box is a way, even for just a moment, to take a deep breath and be thankful, to stand still in the middle of your day and say, “Thank you, Lord. I know you’re in this and I am so blessed to ______________ . You fill in the blank.
Ideally, you will make this box, as a family, on Thanksgiving; and then have the whole year to get it ready for next Thanksgiving. You could hurry and whip one up for this year, but this is my personal experience when we have done that in “off” years. People tend to try to “fill the box” and so something is lost in the heartfelt thanks of the moment. It’s more about the box than being thankful. My suggestion is to work together on Thanksgiving Day and make it beautiful. Then take a year to “count your blessings”. Next Thanksgiving, when you open that box and pour your “mountain of blessings” in the center of the table to read, you and your family will be reminded of just how much you have been blessed and cared for and as you read through what others have written, you will share and relive those awesome memories.
- Place a tea light inside a carved out mini gourd to put at each place setting.
- Place mini white or orange-stripe pumpkins on various height candlesticks. Add a vase filled with fall branches and a few gourds scattered around the area.
- Place various size pillar candles on a mirror. Scatter evergreen branches, pine cones and clementines around the candles.
- Place a hollowed out white pumpkin in the center of your table. Fill it with a fall flower arrangement.
- Place water-soaked florists’ foam on each tier of a 3-tiered cake stand. Place pomegranates, grapes, figs, and fresh fall flowers on each tier.
- Place a water-soaked florist foam into a soup tureen. Place a combination of gourds and fall flowers in it.
- Place cranberries in a clear vase. Add a painted white branch. Using yarn or string, fasten pictures of family members and friends to the branch. Call this your Thankful Tree.