Tim Dunkin
November 26, 2009
Some thoughts for Thanksgiving
By Tim Dunkin

"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...together with penitent confession of their sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor; and their humble and earnest supplications that it may please God through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance...it is therefore recommended...to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feeling of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor...acknowledging with gratitude their obligations to Him for benefits received...To prosper the means of religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth 'in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.'" Samuel Adams, before the Continental Congress, November 1, 1777




Thanksgiving is perhaps one of the most desacralized holidays on the American calendar today. For many Americans, perhaps for most, this day will be about nothing more than engorging themselves on turkey and watching football games. Unlike Christmas and Easter, which have obvious overtones of Christianity, and therefore have to be relegated to the realm of non-existence, it is still possible in corporate America to wish someone "Happy Thanksgiving" without ending up in Human Resources. This has come, however, at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what the holiday is really all about.

As the quote from Mr. Adams above indicates, America is a nation that was saturated with reverence for God at her beginning. Despite the attempts by certain circles to deny this and to revise American history, any reasonable person who merely takes even a cursory glance at what our Founders wrote and said ought to be able to see this.

In turn, this is because our nation was founded upon religious freedom, upon being a haven for those who sought to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. The first settlers, the Pilgrims, and later others, came here for this reason.

Indeed, it was these Pilgrims who instituted the first institutional time of thanksgiving to God. The Pilgrims, settling in what was to become the Massachusetts Bay colony, faced tremendous hardships difficulties that would be almost beyond the comprehension of most of today's overweight Americans sitting down to watch their football games and eat their turkey. Half the Pilgrims who came over in the first wave died that winter of starvation and exposure.

Yet they held on, and gave God the glory for it. They instituted a three-day holiday dedicated to praise, worship, and thanksgiving to God. Despite what the history books we learned from in school might say, they were not giving thanks to the Indians (though, of course, they did acknowledge and were grateful to them for their help and friendship). The Thanksgiving, however, was to God for His providence.

We live in a nation that is the richest and most blessed on earth. Any sane member among us must surely understand, however, that we do not deserve such blessing. The prosperity we have in spite of the provocations that our nation, our government, our culture, our entertainment, our people, our churches, our seminaries make against Him is due to the mercy and forebearance of the Almighty God of creation.

I urge us all to consider this as we go into Thanksgiving this coming Thursday. I do not mean for us to feel guilty about watching football or eating turkey. That was not my intention. But, let us think about the REAL meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday, not just the things that the world has tried to use to get our eyes off of that meaning.

© Tim Dunkin

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Tim Dunkin

Tim Dunkin is a pharmaceutical chemist by day, and a freelance author by night, writing about a wide range of topics on religion and politics. He is the author of an online book about Islam entitled Ten Myths About Islam, and is the founder and editor of Conservative Underground, a bi-weekly email newsletter focusing on foundational conservative worldview and philosophy. He is a born-again Christian, and a member of a local, New Testament Baptist church in North Carolina. He can be contacted at tqcincinnatus@yahoo.com

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