Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States commemorating the harvest of the Plymouth Colony in 1621.  The event followed a winter of great hardship. When it was first inaugurated, only a few eastern states participated.  However, through the efforts of Sarah Hale, a change was affected.  She pleaded long and earnestly with three presidents: Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan during the period of 1852 through 1856. A small measure of triumph was granted in the year of 1852, when her campaign succeeded in uniting 29 states in marking the last Thursday of November as “Thanksgiving Day.”
Then came the dark days of the Civil War. Who would listen to a lone woman with her persistent plea for “just one day of peace amidst the blood and the strife?”  One man did. Her entreaty won the ear of a great American and in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a day set apart for the national giving of thanks unto Almighty God.  Lincoln lived to see only two such occasions but Sarah Hale lived well on into her late 90s, content that her long cherished hope had at last become a reality.
     Thanksgiving is more than a day on a calendar or more than a day with “turkey and trimmings.”  It is because of Jesus that we cry out with praise and worship.  We owe everything to the love, grace and mercy of Him who gave Himself on Calvary.  He gave up heaven for earth. He gave Himself into the hands of sinful men that He might give out His unfathomable love to all who would receive Him. He gave Himself for us, that there might be forgiveness of sins. God so loved us that He gave us His Son.  We remember that love and give thanks.

     A tramp is a vagrant, a person who wonders from place to place without purpose or a settled home. We are a people on the go. But, may we learn that it isn’t enough just to be going. We must be going some where, we must be going in the right direction.  The real issue is not so much where you now stand, but most important, is in what direction are you headed. 
     George Mark Elliott’s title to his book expresses our issue, “What on Earth are You Doing?”  May I add, “For Heaven’s sake.”   The answer is found in being a pilgrim not a tramp.  May you have a thankful thanksgiving.

P.S. “Thanksgiving is thanks-living.”

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