The Holiday Season has arrived along with opinions of discontent and anti-Christian claims. The latest controversy centers on Starbucks Coffee and this year’s holiday coffee cups. I admit I saw the new Christmas design and didn’t think much about it. It’s the Starbucks logo centered on a bright red cup… red and green… traditional Christmas colors. Yet, there seems to be a hullabaloo brewing over the lack of Christmas décor on the Starbucks cups by many Christians as another way to remove Christ from Christmas. Why? Since when did Santa, dogs on sleds, snowflakes, cutesy bears, snowman, stars, ornaments and the like have anything to do with the birth of Jesus; the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. Starbucks started like any other company, on the premise of making a consumer product and marketing that product to generate profit. To the best of my knowledge Starbuck’s was not founded on God. Our Country however has its foundational beginnings steeped in a faith founded in God.
I’m sad and my heart breaks at the slow, or not so slow, disintegration of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims, following their first harvest in the New World in 1621, hosted the very first Thanksgiving; a celebration feast offering thanks to God for his bountiful provision, protection and care over them in the New World.
The first U.S. National Thanksgiving day of celebration started with a proclamation signed October 3, 1789 by our Country’s first president, George Washington. “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.” (See link below for the entire proclamation)
In 1863 amid the civil war, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Thanksgiving Day “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.
And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.” (See link below for the entire proclamation). This began the annual day of giving thanks we know as Thanksgiving.
One cannot help but ask the question, “Why are we, who live in a Country, founded on God, not more proactive in keeping Thanksgiving alive?” As Christians we get our feathers in an uproar over many things. Why not this one? Why are we not more concerned that a day ordained for thanking God specifically, a day of Thanksgiving, is all but lost in the rush of consumerism and Christmas shopping. It’s all but lost in the hearts of mankind. It’s become nothing more than another day to stuff ourselves with food, get dinner over and hit the stores for the early-bird Black-Friday sales. (Black-Friday is quickly morphing into black November. This year, early Black Friday sales started almost before we blew out the candles in our Halloween pumpkins).
To slow down and take a day to give thanks and remember seems like a good thing. As a nation we have much for which to be thankful. Our Country is a country of freedoms. We’re free to voice our opinions. We’re free to worship as we choose. We’re free to vote for the candidate of our choosing. We are free to go where we want, when we want, with little restrictions. We live in a Country where children are protected and not exploited in the workforce; we live in a country where we arise and go to bed each night without the sounds of war happening nearby. And of course grateful we live in a Country where we’re allowed to worship freely, the God we choose, without threat of imprisonment or death.
My list could go on and on. We are blessed beyond measure to reside in this Country.
Thanksgiving is a United States National Holiday, but no matter the part of the World we live, we can be thankful for gifts provided in many forms. Some are monetary and many others are simple blessings of the gift of one’s time, help, provision, encouragement, etc. Not to mention being thankful when we have good health and are able to rise up every day without constraint or hindrances.
Perhaps it’s time we began remembering to be thankful and maybe, just maybe here in the United States, we should begin the campaign to not lose Thanksgiving. If we’re not careful Thanksgiving will soon be a historical fact rather than a current event. A country founded in God to remain in God, by honoring God… now that might be something worth fighting over.
Until next time,
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 118:1