Today is the day for giving thanks to God.
From the etymology dictionary: “1550s, “pleasing to the mind,” also “full of gratitude, disposed to repay favors bestowed,” from obsolete adjective grate “agreeable, pleasant,” from Latin gratus “pleasing” (from suffixed form of PIE root *gwere- (2) “to favor”). “A most unusual formation” [Weekley]. A rare, irregular case of English using -ful to make an adjective from an adjective (the only other one I can find is direful “characterized by or fraught with something dreadful,” 1580s). Related: Gratefully (1540s); gratefulness.”
The word “thanks,” and variations of the same are used at least 139 times in the Bible, most often with the thanks being directed at God.
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.“. Phil 4:6-7
We learn in public school that Thanksgiving was about the pilgrims and Native Americans, but what most don’t know is that it was common in Europe and agricultural societies to have a feast to celebrate the harvest in gratitude for the abundance. Our “first” Thanksgiving was to thank God for an abundance, very much aided by Natives who taught the Pilgrims what to grow on this new land, and important that they celebrated together.
But this isn’t the modern Thanksgiving. In fact, hundreds of years passed with no official proclamation of our modern-day Thanksgiving. It was Lincoln, after losing so many soldiers but winning an important battle for the soul of America, that made this proclamation:
“On October 3, 1863, with this victory in mind, as well as its cost, President Lincoln issued a proclamation:
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, …to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving… And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him …, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
Thanksgiving isn’t about food shared by colonists who murdered Natives and stole their land, as some want to make it, but it is truly about grace, abundance, and gifts from God.
Our family isn’t celebrating today, though we thank God for His abundance every day. My love has a 10 hour shift today, as he does 6 days a week lately, so we will celebrate on his only day off (Sunday) after church and concurrently with the 16th Birthday of one of our daughters. We are grateful for our abundance, even when it means we have to celebrate on a different day than everyone else.