November is a wonderful time of year. It is a month that we see the peak of colors with the leaves turning, just before the task of raking them all up.  It is a month when many go out and perform their civic duty of voting for a candidate of their choice.  And most of all, it is a month that has a day set aside to give thanks to the Lord our God for all He has done for us.  A time when families join together to share a meal and give thanks.  Many will go around the table telling what they are most thankful for over the past year.  Thanksgiving is not technically a Christian holiday, but it is one that all Christians should observe and give thanks.

Of course we know the roots of this holiday.  We are familiar with the traditional story of Thanksgiving where in 1621 William Bradford, of Plymouth Rock, proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to celebrate the survival of the Pilgrims in their second year in the New World, as well as an abundant harvest that they had reaped with the aid of the local indigenous people.

However, a lot of people don’t know that the first American Thanksgiving didn’t occur in 1621. The first recorded thanksgiving actually took place right here in Virginia more than 11 years earlier, and it wasn’t a feast. The winter of 1610 at Jamestown had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived, in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God. You would think that after seeing so many of their loved ones die due to the hardships of this New World, they would not feel all that thankful. However, the opposite was true. They realized they had much to be thankful for.

The same is true for each and every one of us.  Many have suffered sickness, financial troubles, death of family and friends, and other problems that sometimes set us back.  Even with that, I believe we are a blessed people.  With some exception, we have food and shelter.  Many of us have more than one car or truck.  And most of all, a congregation that loves one another and is willing to help those with a need.  For this, and many other reasons, we should give thanks to the Lord.  Not just on November 24th, but on each and every day of the year.

Scripture is clear:

Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving THANKS to God the Father through him.

Psalm 100:4  Enter his gates with THANKSGIVING, and his courts with praise! Give THANKS to him; bless his name!

1 Corinthians 15:57  But THANKS be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:15  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. AND BE THANKFUL.

Ephesians 5:20  Giving THANKS always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is just a few of many that tell us to give thanks to God.  My prayer is that we all have a joyful and prayerful Thanksgiving month and day.

In Christ,


Rev. John Carey