Monday, November 19, 2012



Many people are surprised to discover the origins of our most popular religious and non religious traditional holidays.

The roots of the word holiday are found in two words: holy and day. Back in the 1500s when this word emerged, a holy day was a day set aside for reverence, for worship, for acknowledging the power of God to be at work in our lives and recommitting ourselves to serving God and others. Yet we have allowed our culture to transform holy days into holidays, making them something which we think we are entitled to, often forgetting their true origin and meaning and turning them into an excuse for a day off  from work or school.

A "holiday" in our modern terminology  is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observance is warranted. It is generally an official (more common) or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations or festivities. A holiday does not necessarily exclude doing normal work.

 While holidays are a very important times because they hold traditions that will always be remembered and repeated for generations, if used correctly, they can also be great teaching moments that will be reminders of the Gospels and the ways we should live.

Cheryl Bartley
This leads us to our national holiday of Thanksgiving. When the Pilgrims landed in the New World, they found a cold, rocky, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them. No houses to shelter them. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims died of sickness or exposure. But with hard labor the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves. They set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians.

It wasn’t just an economic system that allowed the Pilgrims to prosper. It was their devotion to God and His laws. And that’s what Thanksgiving is really all about. The Pilgrims recognized that everything we have is a gift from God. Their Thanksgiving tradition was established to honor God and thank Him for His blessings and His grace.

Jennie Augusta Brownscomb, 1914
All of the early Thanksgiving celebrations had one thing in common. The thanksgiving was directed toward God. It did not matter that many had very hard times. The people knew that God was their Creator and Provider and that all good things ultimately came from Him. It is in this spirit that we should be mindful of the true meaning of this feast day! "Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done."

200 years later we continue that tradition.

J. F. Millet

A Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.


The holiest of all holidays are those
kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart.
        Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Antonio Esteves, 1978

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