This Sunday we will Celebrate Thanksgiving! The history of its celebration in the United States is interesting.
102 pilgrims sailed on the Mayflower across the Atlantic Ocean and landed in the New World December 1620, after a stormy voyage begun over3 months before. Their intended destination was Virginia where they had a land grant on the James River, not far from the Jamestown settlement. But a great wind blew them north near Plymouth Rock, MA, and they decided it was God’s will for them to be there.
The pilgrims struggled to carve out a home for themselves. Their 1st devastating winter was so harsh that many perished; in fact, half were dead by March. At one point only 5 men were well enough to care for the sick. The living conditions were so severe – the weather so harsh and the food so scarce – that their daily food ration was reduced to 5 kernels of corn! Not 5 ears of corn, but 5 kernels! Not per meal, per day! They literally had almost nothing! But they were thankful for the kindness of the Indians and the bounty of harvest they gathered in 1621. They thanked God, not just for their plenty, but that they were still alive! Governor William Bradford made the 1st Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1623.
President George Washington proclaimed November 26, 1789, to be the 1st national Day of Thanksgiving. Only a few Eastern states participated for many years, but change was brought about by the determination of one woman, Sarah Josepha Hale. She had a vision for the entire nation to give thanks together and pleaded earnestly with Presidents Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan during the period of 1846 through 1856, but met with limited success.
Then came the dark days of the Civil War. Who would listen to a lone woman with her persistent plea for “just one day of peace amidst the blood and strife”? She wrote to President Abraham Lincoln, enclosing a copy of Washington’s 1789 proclamation, and suggested that he appoint a national Thanksgiving Day. Lincoln agreed and on July 15, 1863, just after the bloody battle of Gettysburg, proclaimed it so.
Thanksgiving would now be celebrated on the same date by all states by presidential proclamation. From 1942 onwards, by an act of Congress, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the national Day of Thanksgiving received a permanent observation date, the fourth Thursday in November.
How important is thanks? A thankful heart is part of God’s will for your life! That makes it very important. The Apostle Paul declared (1 Thessalonians 5:18), “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” We don’t just celebrate giving thanks on one day of the year, though that is an important recognition. We are to have a thankful heart every day of the year. We are instructed to be thankful 24/7. God does the Giving and we give the Thanks. We do not have to be thankful For everything (such as illness, tragedy, etc) but we can be thankful in the Midst of everything. No matter what is happening, we can go to the Lord with a thankful heart.
Our 2021 Thanksgiving Celebration and Lunch will take place this Sunday, November 21. Turkeys are provided by the church, so bring your favorite side dishes (mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad, dessert, and more) to add to the table. Please join us at 10:35am in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). A link will be posted to our website (honoluluag.org).
Coming Up: November 28 is Deck the Halls Sunday. We will decorate the building for Christmas and then enjoy a delicious prepared lunch together. (The lunch is free; you don’t need to bring anything that day.) Our 10th annual Christmas Lunch and Treasure Trade for Ladies and girls will take place on Saturday, December 4, at 11:30am. Please bring your donations of new or gently used items to the church in advance of the event. Tickets are available at Sunday services or by calling the church office. (The tickets are free and help us know how many to welcome.) Our 2nd Drive-Through Prayer in the parking lot outreach will happen that same day at 1pm.
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!