Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, is a solemn day for all Americans ... especially Christians
November 22nd, 2000, Wednesday Evening
"History of Thanksgiving"
When were we thankful?
(Special guest speaker: Brother Weibe)
OPENING: Psalm 100, KJV
Today, it seems the importance of Thanksgiving is steadily decreasing while
the importance of Halloween is increasing. To the United States, Thanksgiving Day is
becoming simply a "speed bump" to Christmas.
- It used to be Thanksgiving Day was respected in that stores didn't begin to
display their Christmas flash and products until after Thanksgiving. Today, they want
to get "ahead of the game" by putting their Christmas stock up for display and then
"turn it on" after Thanksgiving.
- Who financially profits from Thanksgiving? Only grocery stores! Not big-time
corporations and conglomerates.
After Brother Weibe did a search on the word "Thanksgiving" on the internet,
he came up with some interesting facts few of us know today: Thanksgiving was officially
proclaimed in this country only three times.
- 1676: A few years after the arrival of the pilgrims on Plymouth Rock.
101 arrived but 40 died. Regardless of landing on Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims endured
- MISCONCEPTION: Some today believe Thanksgiving celebrates the
arrival of Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock. If that's true (and it's not), why did the Pilgrims
perform this first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1676?
- 1789: Former President George Washington gives the second
Thanksgiving proclamation after the Revolutionary War. All signers of the Declaration
of Independence either died or became destitute because of mother British government.
- 1863: Abraham Lincoln gives third/final Thanksgiving proclamation.
This was shortly after the Civil War (which was the cause of the most American deaths in
war in American history).
- What's the connection of these three proclamations? They are
came shortly after a terrible hardship.
Therefore, Brother Weibe has come to the conclusion the last thankful generation
in American history (but not proclaimed) was the World War II generation.
- Just think--today we could have the Nazi or Japanese flag flying over our land
or we could be speaking Japanese if GOD's Providence didn't prevail.
- The vast amount of the post-World War II generation (the baby-boomers) didn't
pass this on to their children. Therefore, today, we have the "What's in it for me?"
Thanks be to GOD not just for sustaining our country but for something more
important--life and the free gift of eternal salvation.
Matthew 1:5: Who is the most thankful person in the bible?
Brother Weibe speculates it's Ruth.
- Deuteronomy 23:3: Ruth was born a Moabite. In the Old Testament,
GOD said Moabites could never enter a church or be among GOD and His people. Ruth didn't
ask to be a Moabite and no matter how good she was, her race was convicted before she
- Ruth 1:22: GOD sent Naomi to bring Ruth back to Israel.
Ruth accepted. This is comparable to salvation: We were lost, but were led to the LORD
by being saved just as Ruth was led back to Israel
(GOD's chosen people). So Ruth's kinsman redeemer was Boaz just as our kinsman redeemer
is Christ Jesus (who by the way has Gentile blood in Him).
- This is similar to us in that Ruth (Moabite) = Christians
(sinners). Just as Ruth was initially denied the love of GOD and eternal salvation,
so were we as unsaved (because he did not know GOD).
But then GOD, who cannot lie, annulled that commandment when all sins could be paid for
by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
- ASIDE: Joshua 2:1-4: This is also comparable to when Joshua
sent spies to see about taking the city of Jericho. The spies were taken in and protected
by a harlot of the town named Rahab. And because of her helping Joshua do GOD's work,
Rahab was spared her life when the city was taken.
So what was the cause of being thankful in all of this??
A need was met.
Perhaps those just recently saved are more
thankful than those saved at birth (a term Pastor Byrd refers to as, "being saved
- We've taken for granted these gifts of salvation, food, shelter, clothing,
etc. because they've become to common everyday components to our life, we've lost the
humility in being thankful as it has now become an everyday entitlement.
We need the "gratitude attitude" always.