Today we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada.

“The date and location of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention.  The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean.  Frobisher’s Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming.  He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin.  In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey.  French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s also took to celebrating their successful harvests. They even shared their food with the indigenous people of the area as well as setting up what became known as the “Order of Good Cheer.”  As many more settlers arrived in Canada, more celebrations of good harvest became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish, Germans would also add their own harvest traditions to the harvest celebrations.  Most of the American aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey) were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada.

The traditional origin point for Thanksgiving in the United States is the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.  The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States.  This Thanksgiving, modeled after celebrations that were commonplace in contemporary Europe, is generally regarded as America’s first….

Thanksgiving in Canada did not have a fixed date until the late 19th Century, when it was typically held on November 6th.  After the end of World War I, Thanksgiving Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies were usually held during the same week.  To avoid the two holidays from clashing with one another, in 1957 the Canadian Parliament proclaimed Thanksgiving to be observed on it’s present date.

Thanksgiving in the United States had typically been observed on different dates throughout history.  It would not be until December 26th, 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill making Thanksgiving fixed to it’s current date.  Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and on the second Monday of October in Canada.”

Enough of the history lesson….

Second only to Christmas, I go a bit overboard with house decorating for Thanksgiving.  I scatter (fake) fall leaves liberally around the house, and fall colours of red, gold and orange are seen everywhere.  In our home, Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, tradition, and remembering God’s goodness to us over the past year.  I usually cook up a big turkey with stuffing, gravy, caramel potatoes, sweet and sour red cabbage, some mixed veggies, fresh dinner rolls and of course pumpkin pie for dessert.  Over the years my son-in-law has added to the menu by making yams (with marshmallows).  Yummmm!

With a grateful heart, I can come to the thanksgiving banquet and rejoice in His goodness to me and my family…

…But I was reminded the other day that being thankful is a choice.

It is easy to praise and thank God when for the most part everything is going so well in our lives.  It is far more difficult, but I would say far more honouring to God, when we can praise Him and give thanks to Him when life is frought with challenges and struggle.

Through all the trials and tribulations of this past year GOD IS SO GOOD.  We can praise Him wholeheartedly.  We have chosen to be “thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5: 18).

I am reminded in Philippians 2: 14-16 to “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”  I hope we will look back on this past year and be able to say that we were able to “shine” in the face of adversity.

No matter what your circumstance may be at this time, choose to be thankful.

“Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19- 20)

Happy Thanksgiving!

This entry was posted in Canadiana, Family Life, Inspiration & Devotion, Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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