It’s hard to imagine the challenges the pilgrims faced before the first Thanksgiving. They suffered great affliction and faced starvation through the severe winter, only to see God’s hand of provision through the kindness and help of their Native Americans friends. Thankfulness to God overflowed from their hearts as they celebrated together and reflected on God’s goodness to them. Perhaps you have heard the story of the five kernels of corn which the pilgrims placed at their Thanksgiving table as a remembrance of God’s faithfulness. The five kernels reflected the daily rations the pilgrims had to eat the previous terrible winter. They set aside a day to give God thanks for seeing them through. Now we celebrate as well.
What has God brought you through this last year? Take a moment to reflect on the many ways He carried you through the difficult times. Thank Him for His care and comfort during the challenges and don’t forget to thank Him for the glorious and glad times as well. It is good to give thanks continually. It blesses God and us! Our faith is strengthened and our joy increased as we reflect on God’s goodness, faithfulness, love and mercy.
You may want to read the following declarations to your kids this week. Place five kernels of corn at each place setting of your Thanksgiving table to reflect on and share at least five things you are thankful for from the past year.
1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
On October 3, 1789 George Washington issued the following National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation:
“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…
“Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States…that we then may all unite unto him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country pervious to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence 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 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 the true religion and virtue, and the increase in science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone know to be best.”