Thursday, November 26, 2009

Robert Farrar: On Thanksgiving

Dr. Robert Farrar is the Westbury Christian School chaplain and simply put, an institution. Here are some of his thoughts on Thanksgiving.

Although Thanksgiving ceremonies were actually performed a few times before the popularized event, most people think of the first Thanksgiving as the famous celebration between the Pilgrims and the American Indians, so wrote Austin Hatchett. The Indians and the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony both celebrated similar festivals every year: a feast in which they gave thanks to the Supreme Being for his many blessings. When the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony, they developed good relations with the native tribes, mostly due to Squanto, an Indian who knew English because of his time spent in Europe as a slave. The two groups were able to communicate and share ideas. One was that the Pilgrims learned about corn and other crops. Together the Pilgrims held one great feast in which they combined their harvests for that year and gave thanks to God. This meal is what people today think of as the first Thanksgiving Day.
Beginning with President George Washington, several presidents declared a day in November to be set aside to give thanks. It was President Abraham Lincoln who declared that Thanksgiving become an annual tradition. He proclaimed,
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Following President Lincoln’s example, this year people all over this nation will set aside Thursday, November 26th as a day to prepare the traditional feast, and to thank God for giving us abundant food and other blessings.
We hope that on this Thanksgiving Day we will feel especially thankful for God’s manifold blessings, and we will express our gratitude to Him. And we hope that you will be surrounded by your loved ones on this memorable day.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

Our dear God we are so thankful that You are our God and that You also are our
Father, thus caring for us as a father cares for his family. We thank You for blessing this nation that You have given us with food in abundance. But we also know that many in this land are without jobs so we would like to ask You to alter the circumstances so we can be a nation of full employment. Will You also help our people to see that Your way is the best way and mold our nation into what You would have it be. Our hearts are also heavy for our service people who are engaged in the War on Terrorism. Will You keep them safe and bring this conflict to a close? Thank You for loving us as You do and
allowing us to love and openly serve You.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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