Thanksgiving is one of our favorite American traditions, but how did it start and how can we be thankful in 2020? Jared Laskey of Fireborn Ministries shares his thoughts.
In 1621 English colonists of the Christian Puritan faith celebrated a day of thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts alongside 90 members of the Wampanoeg tribe. The feast that became known as ‘Thanksgiving’ went on for nearly a week. Not only was there food served which both the Pilgrims and Wampanoegs contributed to, but there were sporting events, competitions and prayer taking place. It is amazing to think that this year, 2020, we celebrate 400 Years since the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers
The first Thanksgiving was sealed by a peace treaty which lasted until 1675 with the start of King Philip’s War. Over the years with the formation of the United States government there were declarations of a day of thanksgiving, but it wasn’t until October 3, 1863 that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of ‘Thanksgiving’ which was November 26th of that year. Since then the holiday has undergone changes and has been commercialized, but the principle of giving thanks has withstood the test of time.
Surrounded by family and friends, people all across the nation gather to make memories and share a meal together. Some people invite strangers or other people in to feel at home, and the spirit of generosity and human dignity shines through.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated in one way or another since 1621. It has been a staple of the Christian faith and American spirit ever since. It has been something to look forward to, despite wars, famines, recessions and pandemics. Although this year some delegates in government are trying to discourage or legislate limits to how many people may gather in homes.
Yet despite the overreach and invasion of privacy that some are trying to get away with, giving thanks to God with loved ones is needed in such a time as this. The human spirit and genuine care, grace and love displayed around family tables is a reprieve from all that may be going around.
2020 has been a very rough year. With COVID-19 declared as a pandemic, lockdowns, civil unrest and riots taking place in some cities, a blatant disregard for law and order from some and media manipulation and suppression of free speech from others. I was even furloughed for a few months, unsure if I had a job to return to. And millions of others were experiencing the same circumstances. But I always had trust in God and gave Him thanks no matter the circumstances.
The Apostle Paul said in 1st Thessalonians 5:18, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” And Paul was persecuted, shipwrecked, beaten and left for dead and eventually martyred for his faith. But he said we are to be thankful in all circumstances. He wrote the book of Philippians in jail and it mentions being joyous and rejoicing more than any other book in the Bible.
Many of us can look at current events and be discouraged. But we can still be thankful. Thankful for the health and life God has given us. Thankful for true friends and family. Thankful that God’s truth always shines brighter and that His light makes darkness disappear. We can be thankful that the mess that seems to be 2020 will be sorted, sifted and that justice and righteousness prevails overall.
And no one can truly interfere or legislate the principles we celebrate. I say, gather. Gather with a clear conscience, with firm convictions and be thankful. Celebrate another day together, making as many memories as possible. And if the police do come over, offer them a meal and show them what Thanksgiving is all about, giving thanks to God.
Jared Laskey, M.Div., M.A. Christian Ministry, is the founder of Fireborn Ministries and host of the Adventures in the Spirit podcast. He lives to see Jesus awaken this generation to the power of the Holy Spirit. Jared loves teaching people how to hear God. He has recently published the Spirit-Empowered Journal, available on Amazon, and e-courses such as Entry Level Prophecy and The Last Days. His testimony of how God supernaturally healed him of PTSD is in Joan Hunter’s new book, Miracles for Veterans.