Monday, November 15 2021
Thanksgiving, a specifically "American" Christian Holiday
Hello Brothers and Sisters,
Thanksgiving out of all the holidays holds a special place in my heart. It is the only holiday that is uniquely American and derived only from our own history. Unlike all the others who have their origins in the old world and speak to our global fellowship of brothers and sisters, our Thanksgiving holiday calls out to us uniquely as Christian Americans to remember what God has done for us by establishing and sustaining us here in this country. It is a call to remember who brought us from whence we came, how we got here, how we were established, and who sustained and prospered us. It is a call to pause, give credit, and give thanks to our Father for all that he has done for us as a people in this country. And this is a practice that is more important than we may realize. As the Hebrews were about to enter Canaan God gave them specific instructions for them as a people in Deuteronomy 8 below:
"Remembering" - the key to Thanksgiving.
“You shall remember", … “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land",… "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God",… "otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied",… "then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God", …“He led you", …that He might humble you",… “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ , “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth "It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish."
It would be a good practice to read the entire passage of Deuteronomy 8 for Thanksgiving as it seems to clearly reflect a similar story of the Church coming to America and our condition in America today.
Our "American" Christian story, a blessing to remember and give thanks for with our families.
Thanksgiving in 2020 should have commemorated the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in America in 1620. However, the events of last November, the controversial election, the corona virus, civil unrest, etc. all but eclipsed this historic event from the attention of most Americans and Christians Americans too. But Thanksgiving 2021 inaugurates a new quadricentennial, and a new chance to renew the practice of giving thanks on Thanksgiving! And in keeping with the spirit of Deuteronomy 8 and Psalm 78, I would propose that we do that by remembering and celebrating our specific American Christian Heritage. By remembering, learning, teaching, and honoring our American Christian history with our children, families, and churches as a means of glorifying and giving thanks to God for all he has done for us through the generations of faithfulness upon whose shoulders we still stand today.
Hear some of what the writer of Psalm 78 says:
That…"Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God." Ps.78:1-8
But, we are a people with Christian amnesia.
Sadly, most of us have very little knowledge of what God did in the monumental work of bringing, establishing, and growing His People, our Spiritual Parents, in this country. And because of this our children's and grandchildren's generations suffer in the assurance of their spiritual identities and purposes as this very heritage today is under attack to eradicate it from our children's and all Americans consciousness.
An American Christian Heritage Month?
Therefore, I propose that each successive month of November beginning with Thanksgiving Day 2021 we henceforth remember and celebrate as Christian American Heritage Month. A month of special attention given to the "works of God" in and through the Providence of the bringing of His people to these shores, their struggles, trials, perseverance, victories, and prosperity as they grew and dispersed through this continent. The personal and corporate stories, the institutions they created, the influence they had, the failures they experienced, the missions they sent, are all part of our Family story. A Family that we in America are in desperate need of remembering that we are a part of today.
A means I have at hand to share, particulary for those in Georgia.
So, as a means I have immediately at hand to facilitate this I am providing a link here, to an online copy of my book "Pilgrims in Georgia" https://www.jonnywhisenant.net/pilgrims_in_georgia. It is about Christian pilgrims, groups, and individuals in the founding of the colony of Georgia, an almost unknown but wonderful Christian Heritage Story that in many ways equals the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims in New England. It is free, this is not an advertisement, the book is not for sale now, maybe one day. But I will begin regularly sharing items of interest from it that I believe will encourage us and deepen our appreciation of what God has done for us through our Christian forefathers in this nation.
May God Bless,