On Thanksgiving

Today millions of Americans will gather with family, eat turkey and watch the Dallas Cowboys . . . and they will completely miss the point of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has its roots, not in Irving, Texas, and not even in the Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts, but in the English Reformation.

English Reformers sought to reduce the numerous traditional Catholic church holidays that had accumulated over the centuries, while Puritans called for their elimination completely, to be replaced by days of fasting and thanksgiving. Days of fasting would be called in response to evidence of God’s judgment, a drought for example, and special days of thanksgiving in response to God’s providential blessing, such as a particularly good harvest.

When the Pilgrims came to North America they brought their Puritan tradition, and when in 1621 God blessed the Pilgrims in Plymouth with a particularly good harvest, they declared a day of thanksgiving to the Lord, hence the “first” Thanksgiving.

While it is great to be with family during Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is not about family. It’s not about eating turkey or watching football. It’s about thanking the sovereign God of the universe–the God who causes the sun to rise on the just and just and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous (Matt.5:45)–for his blessings.

Have a happy Thanksgiving. GS

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