Thanksgiving Under All Circumstances
When the first American Thanksgiving was celebrated, it was done so in sight of forty graves in the Plymouth cemetery. There were fifty five-English speaking people including only four women who survived from the original band of pilgrims who came to America. The weather had been brutal; there was an epidemic that brought death in that first year for so many. In thanks to God, however, they set aside time and enjoyed their meal and compatriots even though there was a lot of suffering.
Martin Rinckardt wrote the popular Thanksgiving hymn entitled “Now Thank We All Our God.” He penned that hymn during an epidemic in which the number of people who died was so great that they had to bury the dead in trenches. His own wife was taken away; he lost his property and was driven to extremes to find food and clothes for his own children. Yet he triumphed over despair to sing –
“All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given.”
How could he give thanks? While health and wealth and even our stealth can go away from us, one thing can’t be taken away – God’s grace in Christ. Regardless of how rich or poor we may be in life, no matter how important or insignificant, the Son of God opened up heaven for us. We are forgiven of our sins and assured an eternity with Christ. No amount of money, no promise of food and clothing for a few short years on this earth will ever compare.
While circumstances certainly have been better in our nation, yet compared to the pilgrims and Martin Rinckhardt, we are living in Paradise. Remember that no matter what our circumstance, whether bleak or beautiful, the best is yet to come, promised to us through the blood of Jesus.
Come celebrate with us on Thanksgiving Eve November 23rd at 7 PM at our favorite hymn service.
Pastor Larry Zahn