November 2009 Newsletter Article

by Nick Londino for Starlis Mellott

----“THANKSGIVING, November, 2009”

----“Without Thy sunshine and Thy rain, We could not have the golden grain; Without Thy love we’d not be fed: We thank Thee for our daily bread.” (Writer anonymous)

----As I reflected upon these few, simple lines, I concluded they really quite succinctly, yet completely, captured the immutable truth that without the loving, benevolent, providential hand of God, whether acknowledged consciously or not, we, in America, as a people, would be in want of everything. For, first, foremost and forever, all we in America have ever had, have now, will ever have ..or hope to have, comes from God.

----So, as we turn the calendar page to another November, I thought it would be appropriate to devote this month’s Chaplain’s Corner to some thoughts and reflections about Thanksgiving. I think Thanksgiving is generally held to be the biggest family holiday of the year in our beloved country. (As proof of that, how many times on Thanks-giving Days past have you repeatedly tried to telephone loved ones, only to discover the lines overloaded to maximum capacity!) It seems everybody is telephoning someone on Thanksgiving Day!

----Certainly, many, if not all Americans have celebrated, and will continue to celebrate Thanskgiving. But, Why? ..and How? …did it all begin? From studying American history, you probably recall the Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving as part of their religion. But these (never the less) were days of prayer, (Emphasis mine) not days of feasting. Our national holiday really stems from the feast held in autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest…whereby after their first harvest, the colonists of the Plymouth P)lantation held a celebration of food and feasting. Indian Chiefs Massassoit, Squanto and Samoset joined in the celebration with ninety of their men in the three-day event.

----This was followed some 168 years later when George Washington, our first President and Father of our country, officially proclaimed the first Thanksgiving as it appeared in the Massachusetts Centinel (sic) of October 14, 1789, an abstract of which follows: “This historic proclamation was issued by George Washington during his first year as President. It sets aside Thursday, November 26 as “A Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer” (emphasis mine). Signed by Washington on October 3, 1789 and entitled “General Thanksgiving”, the decree appointed the day “to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts “the many and signal favors of Almighty God” (emphasis mine).. [So, from the earliest days of our country, Almighty God was recognized and acknowledged as being the Source of Americ’s blessings.

----Then, came Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of Thanksgiving: At Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863 wherein, here excerpted, appeared several references to God, and His blessings: “The year…filled with the blessings… bounties, …we are prone to forget the source from which they come,…habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God,…It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens…to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens…”

----Indeed, as I see it, there can be no doubt that the foundation upon which Thanksgiving Day came into being in America (as documented by the aforementioned celebration of the Pilgrims and decrees by such important American historical leaders such as Washington and Lincoln) and has continued to be celebrated in America, was, and is, the acknowledging, praising and proclaiming the truth that Almighty God has been, is, and ever will be, I PRAY, the Source of blessings…both those upon America as a country and upon us as individuals. Finally, because of the historical facts mentioned above, whereby God was clearly acknowledged and declared as the Source of America’s blessings, I think it is fitting to consider a few Bible verses that focus on “Thanksgiving”. May one of them be spoken or thought of by each of us as we gather, once again, with friends and family gathered around bounteous tables, to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, this wonderful, and very special, and I dare say…uniquely, in its own way,…American holiday.

----Psalm 26:7 “proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 95:2: “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” Psalm 100:4-5: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.”

----Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Sincerely, Nick Londino; Asst. Chaplain

for Starlis F. Mellott (STARMN)703-491-1674

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