The Coach's Corner
Published Nov. 21, 2011 @ midnight
We have all heard the story of the very first Thanksgiving of our great countries first settlers. On December 21, 1620 the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth rock. Through the dead of winter the colony struggled with poor and meager food, strenuous labor, a biting wind that chilled to the bone, and the ravages of disease. Nearly half the 102 Mayflower passengers did not live to see Spring refresh Cape Cod Bay. But God sent Indians--Samoset, Squanto, and Massasoit--to help the English settlers plant and hunt and fish. The bountiful harvest that autumn led Governor Bradford to invite the Indians to celebrate God's goodness. Ninety tall braves accepted the invitation to join the Pilgrims in a feast of Thanksgiving to God for His blessings. The Pilgrims lived close enough to the soil to know how dependent they were on God's Providence.They had learned to thank God in the midst of the bitterness of winter past. And they were quick to thank Him during abundant blessing, too.
Thanksgiving's purpose has evolved several times since the initial harvest festivals. In 1777, George Washington proclaimed a "thanksgiving" in honor of the American defeat of the British at Saratoga. For generations, Thanksgiving was not an annual holiday but a sporadic celebration marking years of prosperity, and it wasn't until Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation of a national Thanksgiving Day on the final Thursday of November that the U.S. celebrated the holiday with much regularity.
"It is the duty of nations as well as men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God: to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord. We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It has seemed to me fit and proper that God 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 in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens." – Abraham Lincoln, 1863
In 1939, Thanksgiving was again manipulated for social and political purposes when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in hopes that an earlier Thanksgiving would increase spending during The Great Depression, declared that Thanksgiving would be a week earlier, allowing for more shopping time before the winter holidays
Thanksgiving has grown into a rich tradition of turkeys and gravy and pilgrim hats. Seasoned stuffing hot from the oven. Green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Uncles and aunts and cousins to play with. Grandmothers and grandfathers with family gathered round. Football on TV and kids playing with friends and relatives, free from scholarly duty. A day to relax and maybe rake leaves in the afternoon. Black Friday Shopping for deals and gifts. All a part of the American Thanksgiving but how much will our celebrations on Thanksgiving have to do with giving thanks anymore?
I think we all need to remember Abraham Lincoln and the reasons he layed out for this most honored of American traditions. Thanksgiving Day is a time to reflect and be thankful for all that God has given us. Of course, we should do what we can to make the most of the day we call Thanksgiving, but wouldn’t it be a shame if the only time we reflected on our blessings was that one Thursday in November? So let’s do our best to be aware of the many great gifts that we have each and every day of the year. Check out the song “Life of Praise” by Casting Crowns or view it directly through You Tube.
I am thankful for all the blessings God has given me. I live in a great community, work in a great school, and have the chance every day to use the lessons we learn in athletics help kids reach their goal and live the American dream. I have a family to love and friends to enjoy. I also enjoy teaching young student athletes to be thankful for all the opportunities we have in our great nation to pursue our life’s goals with honesty, integrity, and hard work.
I hope and pray you all have, not only a happy Thanksgiving, but have a truly Bold Gold Thanksgiving.