Thank God (thanksgiving)

Friends in Christ, today is Thanksgiving, and we will hear people say, ‘we should be thankful.’
We read in newspapers stories about being thankful. Being grateful. But I have noticed that few people say Who we are thankful to. They just say, ‘we should be thankful.’
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At another parish, I was asked to go to an inter-faith meeting to plan a thanksgiving inter-faith prayer service. There were representatives there from various religions. The Methodist minister asked, ‘what should be our theme this year for Thanksgiving?’ I said, well, how ’bout our theme be, Thanksgiving is to God. We could remind people that this holiday is about thanking God.’ That seemed to be something we could all agree on.  
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The Lutheran minister immediately spoke and said, ‘Oh, we can’t say that, it could offend Buddhists, some of whom don’t believe in God.’  I thought, ‘for heavens sake, then what are we doing here? Let’s just say, that was the last meeting I went to.
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Today our country celebrates Thanksgiving. A true reading of the history of Thanksgiving shows us that this national holiday is definitely about thanking God. When the Pilgrims arrived in America, having survived the first brutal New England winter, they had a meal of thanksgiving. Thanking who? Almighty God.
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The first national thanksgiving was connected with our declared independence from Britain in 1776; the months that followed were very despairing and worrisome times. For much of 1777 the situation was bleak. British troops controlled New York City, Americans lost Fort Ticonderoga, and many troops were killed at the Paoli Massacre. America’s largest city, Philadelphia fell to the British in September. John Adams wrote in his diary: ‘The situation is chilling, gloomy, and very dark.
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But Adams cousin, Samuel Adams spoke with hope: ‘Good tidings will arrive, he said. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its protection.’ He was right. Victories began to occur. France took America’s side, and with hope, Congress appointed a committee to draft a resolution. It declared this is ‘A day of Thanksgiving to God, so that with one voice good people may express grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of God. It would be the first of many Thanksgivings.
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During the 18th century individual colonies often observed days of thanksgiving. These were not about lots of food, but were usually days of prayer and fasting. In 1789 and 1795, George Washington declared a day of Thanksgiving – to God. In the middle of the Civil War, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be on the final Thursday in November. Thanksgiving from then on, was celebrated every year by our nation.
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Thanksgiving Day, therefore, is about thanking Almighty God. It is about gratitude to God. So that is what we will do.

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