Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving, let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Times of prayer and thanking God for the harvest date back to the Protestant Reformation and continued as Pilgrims and Puritans settled in America. Charlie Brown was always concerned with the commercialization of our holidays. The wisdom of The Peanuts gang would remind us not to make these special days about shopping, eating too much, and the next big sports event. There was something more important about Thanksgiving.
In 1620, the Pilgrims began a 65 day voyage across the Atlantic. There landing in New England soon brought a severe winter, that took the lives of half of their community. The following autumn, after being redeemed by the blessing of a successful harvest, they celebrated a Thanksgiving.
Two years later, the Pilgrims again faced devastating hardship, this time in the form of a severe drought. In response, they gathered together in an all day prayer service to seek God’s help. It is recorded that at the end of the day the weather broke, and for the next fourteen days “a gentle rain” restored there land and saved their harvest. What the Pilgrims celebrated that summer, was considered their first Thanksgiving holiday.
A Reflection this Thanksgiving Holiday
- What hardship have you experienced this year?
- Are you seeking to overcome recent situations that are equivalent to a harsh winter season or a severe drought in your life?
- Do you have a community of faith that cultivates a desire to thank God publicly for His deliverance from difficult times?
Many Americans recognize the importance of faith and family during Thanksgiving. For those of us who struggle during the holidays, this can be a great opportunity. Being with others who can influence us spiritually can bring emotional healing. Do you get overwhelmed during the holidays? Take a healing step, and attend a service of worship at a local church. God delivered the Pilgrims in their time of overwhelming hardship. He is same powerful God who can rescue us from all of our struggles.
God’s word in James 5:13 – 14 tells us, “is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any one among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
This holiday, if we have reason to praise, let us be thankful and praise together. If we are suffering, reach out to the Lord with others in prayer. It is God’s design that He offers through His church. Throughout time, we have recognized how the Lord works in this way.