ON FAITH: Give thanks this holiday seasonDuring this beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, let us all be reminded of the historic purpose of the holiday—expressing gratitude to God for our blessings.
By: Pastor Joseph Whiting, Grace Baptist Church, Lake County News Chronicle
During this beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, let us all be reminded of the historic purpose of the holiday—expressing gratitude to God for our blessings. In 1621, the Puritans of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts set aside a week to celebrate their first successful harvest. They were thankful for providential care in safely crossing the Atlantic Ocean. They were thankful that although they had been blown too far north to make it to Jamestown, Plymouth Harbor became their safe landing place. They were thankful that although many had died that first winter, new friends, such as Squanto, arrived to offer help in procuring food. Mostly they were thankful that they had the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience, a right they believed all mankind should enjoy.
With these brave pilgrims in mind, our national leaders have periodically called us to give thanks as a nation. In 1789, George Washington proclaimed that a day of thanksgiving be “devoted by the people of these 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.” In 1863, Abraham Lincoln called on Americans to acknowledge God’s gifts “solemnly, reverently, and gratefully…with one heart and one voice.” John F. Kennedy encouraged us to “express our gratitude” and “never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
God Himself has called us to offer thanksgiving to Him. “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:1-5).
I am thankful that God has brought my family and me to live, work, and make new friends in Two Harbors. I’m thankful for opportunities to serve my Savior by sharing His message with those around me. I’m thankful for our fine law enforcement officers and tireless medical personnel who work around the clock to keep us safe and healthy. I’m thankful for our county and city officials who labor to make our community an even better place to live. I’m thankful for our local churches and relief agencies that provide for our poor and needy. I’m thankful that our local pastors have this weekly column in the News-Chronicle to share our thoughts and musings. I’m thankful for my faithful wife and wonderful boys, for good neighbors, a warm home, a woodshed full of firewood, and abundant food to enjoy. I’m thankful that now I can finally listen to my Christmas CDs. And yes, I’m thankful for snow.
May you have a truly blessed Thanksgiving.
Joseph Whiting is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Two Harbors. He has served the Lord as an ordained minister of the gospel for twenty-four years.