Thanksgiving is Not What You Think!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday filled with full and thankful hearts. It is family and tradition. There are practically no signs of this celebration in the shops, for which I am grateful for.
It is a shame, though, that our schools do not teach our children the true reason that we have a day set aside to celebrate Thanksgiving. Sure, the Pilgrims’ first feast is a tradition which plays a role in the big meal of the day, but it is not the reason we have a Thanksgiving holiday.
Read the following excerpts from the three proclamations of our forefathers who declared that there be a day set aside for “thanksgiving:”
The first Continental Congress Thanksgiving Proclamation of October, 1782:
“Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of Thursday the twenty-eight day of November next, as a day of solemn thanksgiving to God for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to God for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.”
George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789
“to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks”
Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863
“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.”
Each of these proclamations was made in times of war and unrest. Times of distress made our country pull together in rememberance of why we would give our life to live in this country. We were thankful that God had his hand on our shoulder as a people and government.
We are in times of distress today. We are at war abroad and we have economical and political strife in the states. Are we thankful for what we have or have we become spoiled?
Traditions are important, and Thanksgiving is probably full of more traditions shared across our great country more than any other holiday. I love the traditions. But, let's not let any of them overshadow the reason for Thanksgiving...

Your Christmas Tree is Coming!

A couple of weeks ago I followed a few trucks headed through town that were loaded with fragrant Christmas trees. Each tree was bundled to protect its branches. “I wonder where these trees are headed. What delights will those branches hold?” I knew that each tree was about to be the center of a story; a story that for some would live through generations, while others would be forgotten when the last ornament was removed from it’s brittle branch.

As a birthday cake is to our own birthday party, the Christmas tree is to Christ’s birthday festivities. It is the centerpiece of the celebration around the world, adding a glow to the room and the heart.
Living on part of an old Christmas tree farm and in the area that grows more Christmas trees than anywhere in the world, I get a sneak preview of Christmas in late October as helicopters fly over the house on their way to load trucks with the fragrant firs and pines. Anticipation of the holiday swells as truck after truck head through our little town with the precious Christmas cargo.

Spiced cider and Christmas carols have already made their way into my studio and tomorrow I plan to go to the opening of my favorite holiday craft show, “Christmas in the Country.” I can’t wait!
You may be thinking,
“Thanksgiving is a couple weeks away, yet.” You are so right; isn’t it a wonderful time of year? It used to bother me that Thanksgiving was overshadowed by Christmas. Not any more. I ignore the tasteless music on the grocer’s intercom as I hum my favorite carols while searching for ornaments that reflect Christ, family and friends. Thanksgiving and Christmas have a blurred line as I thank the Lord for the grace and blessings he has given me. I enjoy celebrating from the first tree I see swinging through the air from a helicopter in October through the New Year when I am reminded that every day I have peace, hope and joy because of what happened long ago on Christmas Day. I’ve learned to sort out the materialistic and tacky and keep the worship and joy in my heart and soul.
Christ is the center, the reason, the celebration. And, what a grand celebration it should be.