Preserving Our National Celebration of Thanksgiving

Preserving Our National Celebration of Thanksgiving

2019 | Week of November 25 | Radio Transcript #1335

This week Americans worldwide will be celebrating our national Day of Thanksgiving.  It’s a longstanding tradition, dating back to 1619 at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia and followed by the more recognized event in 1621 in Plymouth Colony hosted by the Pilgrims. Nearly four hundred years later, we still carry on that tradition of thanking God as a nation for His protection, providence, provision and blessing.

In his 2018 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, President Trump reminded us of our national history of giving thanks, noting that in recognition of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, ‘President George Washington, in 1789, issued a proclamation declaring the first national day of thanksgiving. He called upon the people of the United States to unite in rendering unto God our sincere and humble gratitude ‘for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country’ and ‘the favorable interpositions of his Providence’.…Ever since, we have set aside this day to give special thanks to God for the many blessings, gifts, and love he has bestowed on us and our country,” the President said.

Today, when a small minority of people very vocally want God entirely banished from the public sector, this nation, with presidential sanction, still sets apart a day to express thanks to God for His goodness and grace to this country. As the President has indicated, we do know Whom we should thank for all our national and individual blessings. However, even this innocent right to recognize this national holiday and give thanks to the Lord cannot be taken for granted.

Public schools seem to be some of the worst places for distortions of our founding and our First Thanksgiving, with a number of school districts becoming champions of political correctness and the cultural push that is alleging racism at every turn.

Recently, a public elementary school in Wisconsin made the news because two first-grade teachers at Stone Bank Elementary School in Oconomowoc suddenly reversed course on their plans to continue a long-standing tradition of having the students re-enact the First Thanksgiving. Parents had been told their children were to dress as a Pilgrim or a Native American and then learn a short sentence they would read or recite during the play.

However, before the play happened, the teachers notified parents that the play was canceled. The email message said, “Unfortunately, the children are unable to dress as a Pilgrim or Native American. We apologize if you already purchased or made your child’s costume. There have been some conversations and concerns about the accuracy of the first Thanksgiving story. Out of respect for Native Americans, and the sensitivity of this time in our history, we are not going to reenact the first Thanksgiving story.” These teachers, likely unwittingly, have furthered the distortion of America’s history.

We need to recognize this for what it is. Ultimately, ideologically this is not a promotion of tolerance for another culture, but a shameless revision of American history to further an anti-American and yes, anti-Christian agenda. While we certainly recognize Native Americans have not always been treated justly in our nation, recognizing and celebrating Thanksgiving Day is an entirely separate issue.

In 1621, under the direction of William Bradford, the Pilgrims set apart a 3-day feast to thank God for His providence and care, and even invited the Native Americans to join them.  It wasn’t then, and it’s not now, a celebration of the destruction and plundering of Native Americans. Rather, the original Thanksgiving Day celebrated the values of both Pilgrims and Native Americans—life, liberty, friendship, gratitude. In fact, one of the blessings the Pilgrim Fathers were grateful for was the assistance and friendship of their Native American neighbors, as their letters and writings indicate.

We must not allow historical revisionists and misguided educators to deceive our children, especially regarding our rich tradition of a national Day of Thanksgiving. We have a responsibility to teach them about their Christian heritage; how the hand of God has blessed our nation so that in a relatively short time we are the most prosperous and the most free people on the face of the earth.

Psalm 78 reminds us God has commanded that we faithfully recount to our children His goodness so that they can acknowledge His works and keep His commandments. We have a responsibility to truthfully recount our national history so that our children will understand and acknowledge that it is God Who bestows liberty, blessing and protection on our nation. This Thursday is a wonderful time to do just that.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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