Christmas – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” – so this popular Holiday song first exclaimed back in 1963. And indeed, it is a warm, loving and memorable time to celebrate with family and friends. It is significant that two major holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are celebrated in close proximity. Perhaps their order should be reversed. Thanksgiving represents a time of reflection and gratitude for the Lord’s blessings. One which is firmly planted in the history of our nation – from the first Pilgrim celebration to the celebration of the birth of our nation:
The First Thanksgiving
“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and made the forest to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from the pestilence and granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. Now I, your magistrate do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of nine and twelve in the daytime on Thursday, November ye 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth Rock, there to listen to ye Pastor and render Thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all his blessings.”
– Governor Bradford November 29, 1623
Following a resolution of Congress, President George Washington proclaimed Thursday the 26th of November 1789 a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted 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.”
And about four weeks later we remember the birth of The Christmas child – Jesus Christ:
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us. Matt 1:23
So it might be reflective to consider that true Thanksgiving can only come as the result of a Christmas miracle. Without the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, mankind would be eternally separated from Almighty God.
All Thanksgiving is given to Jesus
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
The birth of Jesus Christ is the most significant event in world history. That He, Jesus:
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:8
Christmas, as John 3:16 explains, is the true reason for Thanksgiving:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Yes, the Lord continually pours out his blessings – but the greatest blessing of all is His gift of salvation, that Christ alone can offer mankind:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life no one come to the Father but through Me. John 14:6
So this Christmas, let us be mindful and most thankful for the greatest Christmas gift any of us could ever receive – the gift of eternal life thru Jesus Christ the Lord !
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6