The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association
 
 


Giving Thanks
We are Without Excuse

by Jim Josephsen

Observed annually in the United States, on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is another holiday which avails a portion of America’s labor force the opportunity to take another day off from work. Thanksgiving pumps up the economy, for the stretch of a week or so, as Hallmark-type greeting cards are purchased and exchanged; as an increase in foods, namely turkey, ham and fish, potatoes, yams, pumpkins, cranberries, chocolates and the like are purchased in volumes that excite the marketing executives of both local community retail food stores and national commercial chains.

It is anticipated that Thanksgiving related sales will generate somewhat over $45 billion this year. Certainly nowhere near the revenues generated by annual holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day or Halloween, but nonetheless Thanksgiving gives the country a brief kick in the economic pants. Thanksgiving provides a day of celebration.

Sporting venues, particularly the NFL, plan the events of the day, and the key team match-ups a year in advance. The teams that are fortunate enough to capture a Thanksgiving Day game revel in the extra income, the “take” that is generated by television and advertisement exposure. The local merchants are thrilled by the additional revenues garnered and city coffers are expanded from the extra taxes generated.

Of course there are the parades and the parties. Common and expected are family gatherings, turkey dinners, libations and festivities. These are elements which compose this annual celebration commemorating a day of giving thanks. The origins of Thanksgiving, although the official celebration dates back to the 1860’s, go back to a time before the formation of our country; back to a time of the puritans, of the colonists roaming the new British colony; a time when this country was not even yet in its infancy.

Today, Thanksgiving is drowned in too much commercialism. Thanksgiving is a day many cannot wait for, if for the mere fact that it is a day off of work. And let us not forget, the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, the biggest retail day in America; then Small Business Saturday. Both days desperately needed to help the economy!

Perhaps it’s not the appropriate question to ask; perhaps it’s nobody’s business. Perhaps it’s simply something that is left to the individual. Perhaps it’s not politically correct to get into someone else’s head in order to ask the question; but in light of all the realities of Thanksgiving, just how many American’s really stop to give God thanks?

How many Americans think and reflect on the many blessings God has provided this country? How many Americans still think about God? How many people in America celebrate Thanksgiving, having first and foremost in their heads the thought: “Thanks to God!”?

As this website is considered religious in orientation, there is no reason to apologize for asking these questions. And these questions are directed to you.

Will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, giving thanks to God – for the blessings He has given you; for allowing you to be alive, able to enjoy the day?

Oh for sure this nation’s economy is in dire straits. Politically, can it get any worse? Of certainty many more Americans will, for the first time, be eating a turkey meal at a food shelter this year.

As we have explained to our readers over the years; the problems within the United States all funnel down to the fact that this country is no longer truly a God-fearing nation. It has become a pluralistic nation, culturally and religiously, and in so many ways this nation has a form of godliness, but is unfaithful to God.

Pertaining to this nation’s predominant religion, Christianity; well, it looks good. There’s a celebrated, glistening veneer. But as far as substance and principle, spirit and truth; this religion is best characterized as a whited sepulchre.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, perhaps you should reflect on your life, both the good and the bad, and the advantages of living in this country. Likewise, perhaps you should reflect on the words God spoke to generations past; people, who did not give thanks to God, and by not doing so, lost all He provided for them, losing all they had.

Giving thanks is not only a required Christian thing to do; it is a human thing to do, It is a matter of the heart, regardless of one’s religion. Gratitude is an honorable characteristic, yet the practice of it is rapidly diminishing in this once great nation. Will you give thanks to God?

Do not forget the importance of giving thanks to God; we should all heed His warnings for failure to do so!

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts became darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:20-23 NIV).

By not giving thanks to God, have you become futile in your thoughts? Are you uncertain about your future, lacking hope and chasing after vain pursuits? By not giving God thanks, have you developed a hard heart, becoming selfish, foolish in your practice and behavior? Do you just gobble away at the turkey?

“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced my wealth.’ But remember the Eternal your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth and so confirms His covenant which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today. And it shall be, if you do at all forget the Eternal God and walk after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day, you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:17-19).

The earth is God’s and the fullness of it; everything in it, on it and above it, all belongs to God. God alone is to be worshipped and honored; respected for what He possesses, yet shares with mankind. God provides all that you are able to enjoy. Every element of this day long celebration called Thanksgiving has been made possible and so far sustained because God has allowed it to be.

God does not take kindly to idol worship, the works of your hands and the vanities which today’s religions practice; nor is God pleased with a people or nation that is ungrateful.

Not forgetting God; not forgetting what He has done (for you personally), is necessary. Giving thanks to God is paramount. To forget God, to be ungrateful, turning your mind away from Him unto vain worship, to idol worship, to worshipping even yourself and your interpretations of what you think God is, of your own pursuits, of eating without giving thanks, leads always and only to one end. As God warned: “you shall surely perish.”

Thanksgiving Day without doubt is a day to give thanks. Perhaps this year before you sit down with that turkey on your plate as you sit yourself in front of the television, you should stop and give thanks to God for all you have and all He has done for you!

 

Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news stories added 23 November 2011
 
Resources
---Thanksgiving US

---Thanksgiving Canada
 
---"American as Pumpkin Pie: A History of Thanksgiving". BackStory with the American History Guys. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. 2010-11-16.

--- http://backstoryradio.org/american-as-pumpkin-pie-a-history-of-thanksgiving/
. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
An hour-long history public radio program examining the roots of America's Thanksgiving rituals
 

---Armstrong, Elizabeth (2002-11-27). "The first Thanksgiving". The Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1127/p13s02-lign.html. Retrieved 2008-01-12.

"Of Harvest, Prayer, and Football: A History of Thanksgiving". RandomHistory.com. 2008-10-23. http://www.randomhistory.com/2008/10/23_thanksgiving.html. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
 

---"Thanksgiving". FreeAudio.org. http://www.freeaudio.org/misc/thanksgiving.html. Retrieved 2010-11-26. Free audio readings of Thanksgiving proclamations by William Bradford, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln

 

---"The First Thanksgiving". Plymouth, Massachusetts: Pilgrim Hall Museum. http://www.pilgrimhall.org/f_thanks.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-26.

Photos:
Left: Thanksgiving with Puritans
Right: Black Friday