The Thanksgiving holiday season is close at hand. Historically we have been told the first one was celebrated with the American Indians and sojourning Pilgrims who were thankful for a bountiful harvest. This came after a hard year for those from England on the Mayflower. Seeking a newfound freedom, the passengers of the ship lived - and many died from disease, hunger, and cold weather – waiting to find sanctuary.
Beginning in 1827 Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for 36 years to establish a national holiday for Thanksgiving and it was declared in 1863. She became the Mother of Thanksgiving when Abraham Lincoln conceded to make it a holiday here in the United States. At the height of the Civil War, he wrote a letter of proclamation asking everyone to pray to God “to commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners and sufferers in the lamentable civil strife and to heal the wounds of the nation.” (Sounds like something Jesus said!)
1 Thessalonians 5:18(AMP) goes even further in a letter: “In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
Interestingly enough, Lincoln did not proclaim thanks in the situation they were in. Romans 5 declares the purpose of suffering. Reminding us that there is purpose in the previous suffering in our lives. So much to be thankful for in the time of distress that comes in opposition to Christ. He provides inner strength, confidence in His presence, peace in the middle of the storm, salvation in Christ Jesus that gives us hope for all eternity and promised compassion and care.
We are each called to give thanks even when the difficulties of life seem too much to bare. What have you suffered and yet give thanks to God this season?