Celebrating Thanksgiving in America

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration for the Pilgrims to give thanks to God for bringing them safely to the New World. On October 3, 1789, George Washington made a proclamation creating the first Thanksgiving Day to be officially be celebrated by the United States of America. He said, “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 signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” “And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions,”
In the year 2012, American has drifted dangerously far from that early proclamation. We have as a nation deteriorated into a Thanksgiving Day that encompasses secular activities without respect and acknowledgement to God from whom all our blessings have come. De 28:2.
In July of 1623, the first colonists who came to America were critically low on food. For months they had been expecting a ship with supplies and additional settlers to arrive. The spring planting of Indian corn and beans began well, but they had a six-week drought that left their crop scorched. Additionally, the expected ship hadn’t been heard of for three months, only the signs of a wreck were seen along the coast. They were discouraged, and their joy turned into mourning as they prayed and fasted. Yes, they prayed to God and fasted!
Their answer came some days later when it was recorded that there was sweet and moderate showers of rain that continued for fourteen days. Captain Myles Standish, returning from the north brought further good news. The supplies and new colonists were safe although delayed, and were again on their way. Their prayers were clearly answered.
The colonists set apart and appointed a day of thanksgiving to God who had dealt graciously with them. The colonists, who were Separatists Christians, were thankful to God for the provision. Their dream was realized of building their own church in a new land so they could have freedom of worship.
Christians worldwide are called to give thanks to God. Col. 1:17. Some live in lands where they cannot freely worship God. Sister Kwang in China found herself in prison because of her faith in Jesus Christ. The Communists made her an example by sentencing her to life in prison for involvement in the Christian house church movement. They beat her twelve-year old son to death in front of her. She was put in an underground cell, given a bucket for her sanitary needs, and had dirty rice to eat. The Chinese prison guards needed a volunteer to clean the bathrooms. None spoke up to do the dirty job, but Sister Kwang. She saw this dirty job as an opportunity to lead others to Christ.
Through the years she led hundreds of women to Jesus Christ in their cells. After ten years she was miraculously released from prison. She looked back with thanksgiving on her time spent in prison as a gift from God. It was a special opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who might never have heard the good news of salvation.
In November of that year my arrest seemed close in China because of teaching in the underground churches. I fasted and prayed as I wrestled with God crying out, “Lord, if I am arrested I possibly will never see my family or homeland again, nor be able to complete the mission I thought you sent me to China for.” Quietly Jesus drew near and whispered through the Scriptures, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb.13: 5.
Early in the morning surrender came in my spirit as I prayed, “Thank you Jesus for choosing me for this mission, and if I am to go to prison for the rest of my life on earth, I will be thankful to You. I will be a thankful and faithful witness, no matter where I am.” That day the milling of the police around our area cleared, and I was able to complete the mission of teaching believers who had gathered.
I returned home to America, “the land of the free”, in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and friends. The holiday took on new meaning for me that year. To be able to live in a land where we are free to worship and believe in God gave me a new appreciation for the original colonists who settled America. This Thanksgiving America will have made her choice in the direction our nation will go.
God gives every person and nation a choice to serve Him. Will we choose life in this election? De 30:19. Will we make the choice of a president that stands with pro-life to protect our unborn children? Ps 139:13; Lu 1:41. Will we choose to elect a man who will lead our nation to stand with Israel? Ge 12:3. Will we choose a man who stands for the family unit as being a man and woman as God created us to be? Ge 1:27; Mr 10:6. Those are questions that will be answered with our votes by this Thanksgiving.
God that made us, maintains us if we follow Him, and He gives us all good things richly to enjoy. Among all the nations on earth, America has been abundantly blessed in the past, but we have seen a sharp turn in the last four years. The president stated that we are not a Christian nation and truly we no longer are. This election will determine, as none other in the history of America, the outcome of our nation. It is my prayer that each and every person will vote, for this is a deciding vote for the direction of America.
Our adopted children have often expressed their thankfulness to have been adopted in America. Our daughter Grace expressed her thanks for this blessed freedom so well. The orphanage director brought her to the Civil Authorities Building in China where we got her. At ten years old she was timid and withdrawn. After we signed the papers, and she did also because she was ten years old, I noticed a spark in her eye. The director said goodbye and began to walk away. Grace looked at him walking away and then at us and then she smiled big and jumped up in the air. She took my hand as a big grin swept across her face. When she later learned English she went around the house saying, “I’m free! I’m free!”
The question being answered at the election this November is the direction of America. Will we remain a free nation? Will America continue on the present decay course? Will America, because of the distance she has drifted from God, became a lost country or will America begin to turn back to God and again be a blessed nation? It is our choice; God gives every person and nation the choice to serve Him.
As we gather this Thanksgiving it is my prayer that we will be able to rejoice in America beginning to turn back to our roots, the principles of the Bible, and our foundation that rested upon our almighty God. Will you join me in that prayer?