The meaning of Thanksgiving


Pastor Thad Gifford - Contributing Columnist



What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

Well, by now, most Thanksgiving dinners have been enjoyed and maybe you have already had that wonderful, cold turkey sandwich with lettuce and mayonnaise. I really can’t decide how I like turkey the best: on the day of Thanksgiving or on the day after. I know that could lead into a good discussion, but that’s not my point this week.

I’d like for us to understand the true and real meaning of the day.

For many, it’s a “day off” from something like school or work. A day to kick back and relax, or a day to travel to be with family. I remember when I was just a kid, Thanksgiving signaled the day my dad and grandpa would take me hunting for rabbits and pheasants. We’d eat our Thanksgiving dinner, rest for a while and then don our hunting gear and head out into the fields. They would carry their shotguns, I would carry my B-B gun. And it was a real adventure to walk through weeds and brush and briar bushes that were high enough to stare me in the face. We (they) usually came back with their limit. I came back without any B-B’s.

But what is the meaning of Thanksgiving? I share the following with you so you will know too:

On Jan. 1, 1795, our first United States President, George Washington, wrote his famed National Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he says that it is… “…our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue is… our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced…”

Thursday, the 19th day of February 1795 was thus set aside by George Washington as a National Day of Thanksgiving. Many years later on Oct. 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, by Act of Congress, an annual National Day of Thanksgiving “on the last Thursday of November, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

In this Thanksgiving proclamation, our 16th President says that it is… “…announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord… But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own… It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people…”

It’s interesting that both Washington and Lincoln’s focus was to thank Almighty God for His favor and for His blessings on America. It’s also noteworthy to point out that Lincoln’s concern was that America had “forgotten God and had given the credit for blessings to their “superior wisdom and by their own virtue.”

That sounds pretty similar to the condition of our country today, doesn’t it? Hopefully, things will turn around and our country will get back to God, so this Thanksgiving, take a moment at your family’s table and give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His blessings and love endures forever.

And that is Something to Think About for this week.

God bless you and we want to let you know the doors to our church are always open to you and to your family. We’d love to have you and your family come and worship with us. If you don’t have a home church, please check us out at 10:45 a.m. Dress casual. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6:30 p.m. Crossroads will have a Worship service on Christmas Day.

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Pastor Thad Gifford

Contributing Columnist

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.