really giving thanks

Thanksgiving is more than just a long holiday weekend to watch eight consecutive hours of football or find a few bargains. It’s a time to reflect on the remarkable blessings showered upon us. Think back over the year and you’ll remember how often a crisis loomed above you. Perhaps you’re facing just such a situation now. And yet, how many of last year’s looming disasters are still with you? There is much for which to be thankful and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to remind yourself and your family of what you are really grateful. I hope that you and your loved ones are able to escape the daily grind and spend some quality time together. And don’t forget to pray for US troops overseas, far away from home. If you have friends or relatives in the military, please lift them up.

Stephen Goforth

What Sarah Hale Did for You

In 1621, famous pilgrim William Bradford proclaimed a day of feasting to commemorate the first harvest after a long year of suffering. That became America's first Thanksgiving Day. But as the colonies grew prosperous, the people forgot all about Thanksgiving and the meaning it held for their ancestors. The holiday was revived for a time under George Washington, but general interested in it dropped steadily. Finally, it was observed in only a few communities and that was sporadic because there was no set date.

Then, a determined woman named Sara Hale appeared on the scene. She was a young widow from New Hampshire. In 1822, she found herself with five children to support. She turned to literature and became the editor of a woman's magazine. Like most editors, Sarah was a crusader. It was her belief that the government should make Thanksgiving a national holiday. She pounded away at her idea for years. Three presidents turned her down. But the fourth finally agreed with her. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of every November as our national day of Thanksgiving.

Now, you probably never knew that Sarah Hale did that for you. Her fame rests more on the ditty she wrote in 1830. We’ll never forget her for that simple poem that begins, “Mary had a little lamb…”