Families at Thanksgiving

A New Column

I am honored by the invitation to continue as a columnist for the Baptist Trumpet — but not as associational president. This new venture will continue an old approach. I want to continue to encourage BMA of Arkansas churches to support the ministries of the association and to attend not just the state meeting, but local and national meetings as well. I appreciate the encouraging requests from so many for me to continue writing about Arkansas Trailblazers and other historical occasions of the association. I will gladly do that, along with a number of other subjects.

I know that not everything I write has full agreement from every reader. I enjoy the compliments and requests, but I want to hear your disagreeing opinions from time to time as well.

Thanksgiving for Peace Then

In 1621, the colonists had made peace with the Wampanoag Native Americans at Plymouth. That was a milestone because, at first, their existence in the same land was not peaceful, but that changed. To celebrate the peace and also the bountiful blessings each people group had received, the came together and what we call the first American Thanksgiving transpired. It was not called Thanksgiving but was simply an autumn harvest feast that was shared by families from the colonists and the Wampanoag.

Battles had been fought before that first gathering Nov. 25, 1621, but peace finally came. As individuals and families, we had been part of a battle for righteousness that none of us could win alone, or even together. But each of us has One who fought the battle and won! He is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Through His death and resurrection, we have the peace — the blessed hope for eternity — that made us no longer enemies of God, but fellow citizens of Heaven.

Yes, despite a pandemic that has taken the lives of millions, sickened the population of entire nations and changed the culture in which we live, we have much for which to express our thanks to God. But more than that, for those who have been saved by grace, peace has been made and thanksgiving should be made.

In those early days of our nation, many would go to bed uneasy, restless and fearful because they didn’t know when they would be attacked and possibly lose their lives. But peace made the difference in 1621. Spiritually, it made a difference then and it certainly continues to make a difference today.

Thanksgiving for Peace Today

For our family, Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday. We love to gather, enjoy great fellowship and feast on delicious food, but more so to express thanks to God for His abundant blessings. Except for a very young great granddaughter, everyone in our family know the peace that comes from knowing Christ. We don’t have to go to bed uneasy, restless and fearful — concerned about the destiny of our souls. Christ makes the difference.

Every church is a family, and each time the church gathers should be a time for Thanksgiving. There should be great fellowship and God’s Word to feast upon, but then there is worshipthat time when believers give thanks, praise and honor to Him who abundantly blesses when they gather to express gratitude to God for His indescribable Gift — His only Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7 NIV).

May you and yours have a very happy Thanksgiving and may the churches of the BMA of Arkansas prosper at the hand of our great Savior and coming King!

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