HURRY UP AND THANK ME!
On September 6, 1620, 102 pilgrims set out on their journey, bound for their hopeful promised land, a new land free from religious tyranny. Sixty-six days later, November 9th, landed in Cape Cod, a bit north of their intended destination of the mouth of the Hudson River. A month later they made their journey across Massachusetts Bay and landed at a spot that would become their new home, Plymouth, Massachusetts. After a brutal winter and only the original group surviving, the remaining people were able to move onshore and begin planting for a hopeful harvest. In November 1621, those who remained with the help of Native Americans in the area, saw their first successful corn harvest and the governor of the colony, William Bradford, proclaimed a three day celebratory feast, the first unofficial thanksgiving. In 1789, after the new country had celebrated many successful harvests, President George Washington proclaimed an official day of Thanksgiving that has been recognized annually since then.
What strikes me as I read this account of history is the time that was spent on this celebration of Thanksgiving. Sixty-six days just to get there. An entire season to wait, hope and pray. A three-day feast for the first corn harvest. Years of harvest to make Thanksgiving an official event. Compare that to the celebration of Thanksgiving today, and it makes you realize our way of Thanksgiving boils down to "hurry up and thank me!" First, we get the day off so we sleep in a little, except that usually makes us late for all of the day's events! Then we have an hour and 12 minutes to watch the parade, get ready to go, while the turkey finishes up. Grab the turkey and run off to the meal, hurry up and say grace before the food gets cold. Grab some dessert and head for the living room to watch a little football while we clean up during the commercials. Finally, after plugging through the day, we get to the main event, black Friday, which now begins on Thanksgiving Day anywhere from noon to midnight! And I'm just guessing, but I bet there's not a lot of thanksgiving going on as we rush from deal to deal for the best shopping day of the year!
Wouldn't it be different, and perhaps even better, if we really took this day to remember, to rest, to celebrate, and to be thankful? God HAS been good to us, so maybe we SHOULD give thanks to the Lord. We have success in lots of harvests, from corn to crops of all kinds, from personal blessing to profit in our businesses. As Christians, we have the hope of God walking with us, blessing us as we go, and we have the hope of life beyond this world where all is made well. We have the joy of worship with friends and neighbors, the joy of having bibles to hold and read, the joy of prayer and praise wherever we want. The list goes on and on, and yet for lots of us, we will celebrate this day chomping on good food and chomping at the bit to get to Walmart as soon as possible. For lots of us, I suspect our Thanksgiving amounts to "hurry up and thank me". Has God been good to you? He certainly has to me. So then, let's really take this day to proclaim in lots of ways, all through the day, let us give thanks to the Lord our God for He is good! Have a great Thanksgiving!
Pastor Randy Reid