Thursday, November 24, 2011
Thanksgiving 2011: Our History and Our Future
Even though I have been writing these Thanksgiving posts as a way to focus on being thankful and hopefully glorifying the LORD by sharing what He has done in our lives, I don't want to fail to mention that there is great historical significance to Thanksgiving Day. I hope it does spur you on toward thankfulness, but I also hope part of that thankfulness comes from the history of this day.
There are a lot of pieces to the story of the Pilgrims, the Native Americans, and about that first Thanksgiving feast that are no longer known by so many Americans. Most of us being taught in public schools where some truths have been left out more and more over the years don't even know the whole story. In fact, if you were like me, there are some things I was taught that just simply are not true.
The roughly 100 pilgrims who originally set out for America were followers of Christ who were seeking freedom that was not being given to them in England. Over half of them died within the first three or four months of being in America! They suffered greatly and had a very difficult first few months in their new land.
I recommend reading this overview of this history from David Barton, noted historian, here. By the way, his organization, called Wallbuilders, is a great organization I highly recommend when it comes to American history.
Also Moody Radio out of Chicago (named after D.L. Moody) has a great Thanksgiving program called Remembering the Pilgrims. You can download it and listen here. It was very interesting!
While I want to spend Thanksgiving (and the whole month up to it) remembering the first Thanksgiving feast and reviewing with my family the history since, I also have been reminded to be thankful for my own history.
We all have good and not so good (maybe even bad) points in our own history. Some of those may haunt you. Some of those most likely changed the course of your life ever since. There is a quote I have heard before, though I cannot find the exact quote or the name of who first said it:
A man who doesn't know where he came from will not know where he is going.
Knowing our history as a world/nation/community/family and individually is very important. It's not just knowing the historical facts, but also learning from them. I hope I have learned from my history. Facing my history and learning from it will help me face the future better.
I also want to continue to recognize the importance of knowing biblical history. Unfortunately there are many who think the historical books of the Bible are boring, unimportant, and/or not worth the time and effort to read, study, understand, and learn from the stories contained within. This cannot be further from the truth! Until you dig into these historical books of the Bible yourself, you will be missing out on the profound, valuable, and fascinating history that is still so applicable today! I really love learning the history of Israel and before that the history of how God created everything and what took place after that. There is so much to learn, and it is a shame that so many do not realize this. I love the studies that come from Precept International. I recommend those to anyone wanting to learn and understand the Bible more.
From there I love learning about our Christian heritage that was built by all of those who followed Christ throughout history. These are also fascinating stories about God's provision, protection, sovereignty, and guidance throughout the lives of these who have been written about. I want to learn from their lives, as well.
I am so thankful for the recording of this history - all of it. I also look forward to teaching it my children as they grow. I often wonder how much better off we would all be if more of us knew, understood, and learned from history. Instead many of the same mistakes are continually repeated unnecessarily.
Thank You, LORD, for our history. May we handle it with care and gratitude and not forget what you have done.
Day 24: Our Future
So where are we going now? What is ahead? Of course there is only so much we can know and even plan for when it comes to looking forward.
I am thankful for my future because I know this: God is in control and only does what is good even when I don't like it or understand it. Furthermore, I know that my eternity is secured in Heaven forever because of my relationship with Jesus. No matter what ever happens next, that is my ultimate home for all time. What a joy to have that assurance and promise from Him! It changes everything!
I don't know where our nation will be heading next. I don't know exactly how all of the events that will lead to the end will come, but I do know how it all ends and who will still be in control and on His throne: Jesus.
I am thankful for whatever future the LORD has for my family. I love my husband and children so much and am reminded often to pray more for what is next, for the future. I pray that they will know truth and walk in it always. I look forward to seeing the plans that God has unfold.
As we approach Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, I look forward to contemplating this year and the one to come. I never want Christmas to just be one day. It is a special day that should be celebrated as special, but it is more than just one day. This is why we like to participate in Advent, as well. It helps us to prepare our hearts for Christmas.
Happy Thanksgiving! May your future be filled with evidence of God's grace and love and may you recognize Him like never before.
"I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving." (Psalm 69:30)
This is my song. Now and forever. I pray it will be yours, too. Thank You, LORD!