A Special Note of Thanks…
This Thanksgiving, let me take the opportunity to express our appreciation for all of those who have generously donated to Meet The Need over the years. It’s remarkable that this ministry has not only survived but thrived despite not charging for the high-impact solutions that cost millions to build and maintain. For nearly two decades, Meet The Need has been on the forefront of innovation around city-wide collaboration, hunger relief, homelessness, foster care and disaster relief – all across the United States.
We write this blog to encourage church and ministry leaders like you to follow Jesus’ model for living and teaching a Prayer, Care and Share lifestyle. We rarely ask you for donations. However, we’ve just launched a year-end giving campaign called #GiveAnEternalGift and need your help to roll out an exciting new family support platform focused on serving widows and orphans. Would you consider a gift to help us provide widows and their children help for today and hope for tomorrow?
Meet The Need Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and public charity so your donations are tax deductible. If you give before midnight on November 27th, your contribution will be doubled by a matching grant!
Share the True Origin of the Thanksgiving Holiday
America’s public schools no longer teach children the truth about the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday. Teachers and textbooks are not permitted to share official Thanksgiving declarations by some of the greatest political leaders in our nation’s history. If prayer is not allowed in public schools, then those quotes are most certainly off limits.
I understand the need to be sensitive to other cultures and avoid government sanctioning or imposition of religion, but those don’t justify revisionist history. When facts are distorted or selectively omitted, students suffer. They deserve to learn the truth about the Thanksgiving and draw their own conclusions. Yet in the name of tolerance, political correctness and “separation of church and state”, Thanksgiving proclamations are rarely read in schools. Instead the original intent is misrepresented and children are taught a sanitized, secularized version of the Thanksgiving story.
Going one step further, it’s even in vogue today to focus on the controversial aspects of our nation’s discovery, settlement and founding. Depending on the teacher’s point of view, the recounting of original events that led to the Thanksgiving holiday may emphasize famine, food and fellowship – or opportunists invading and oppressing established natives. All of those interpretations and (often conflicting) accounts include some elements of truth but miss the actual purpose and meaning of Thanksgiving – giving all glory, honor, praise and thanks to the Lord.
The invitation from Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Plantation to the first Thanksgiving celebration on December 13, 1621 read…
“All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”
The first National Thanksgiving Proclamation, signed by Henry Laurens in 1777, President of the Continental Congress, began…
“Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such father blessings as they stand in need of…it is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States to set apart Thursday the 18th day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor…”
George Washington wrote his famed National Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789, saying…
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me ‘to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness…’”
Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of an annual National Day of Thanksgiving on October 3, 1863 stated…
“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. 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…”
Reading those excerpts, you may be surprised to learn that the actual Thanksgiving Day declarations were as Christ-centered as the proclamations making Christmas Day and Easter national holidays. Just like non-Christians and retailers have tried to turn our attention from our Savior to Santa and from Believing to Buying, they’ve reduced Thanksgiving from Faith to Family and from Compassion to Consumption.
Those same contrasting forces that compete for our allegiance during the Christmas season have crept back into our Thanksgiving celebrations. Stores used to kick off Black Friday on Friday – imagine that! Seeing the madness that ensued when they opened their doors at 6:00am, retailers sensed the opportunity to start even earlier – first midnight Thursday and then at 8:00pm. Now, some stores have announced Black Friday sales will begin at 4:00pm on Thursday, even before taking the first bite of Thanksgiving dinner.
It’s Your Turn
Family can be the toughest mission field. Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” (Mark 6:4) But that’s where each of us is being called to live out the Great Commission over the next few days. Arm yourself with the truth about the origin of Thanksgiving and look for opportunities to share it with (what may be) your toughest audience – your family. Consider reading George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s inspiring and revealing words about Thanksgiving before sitting down to enjoy turkey and stuffing.