The Secret Origins of Thanksgiving (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Thanksgiving originated as a celebration commemorating the autumn harvest. The first such celebration took place in 1621, in Plymouth, when the Pilgrims honored God with a three-day feast, thanking their Lord as their protector and the provider of the bountiful blessings they’d enjoyed all year. One of these blessings was the freedom to worship God without persecution. Another blessing was the peace and unity these colonists enjoyed in the New World: according to Edward Winslow, one of the attendees at this first Thanksgiving celebration, 53 Pilgrims sat down to break bread with 90 Native Americans from the Wampanoag Tribe.

Elsewhere in America, New England colonists regularly celebrated “thanksgivings” or designated days of prayer thanking God for His continued blessings. And later, in a 1789 proclamation, George Washington asked the country to observe the celebration nationally. Several decades later, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln went one step further, by designating Thanksgiving as a federal holiday, a time of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Lincoln was correct, as he was in all things presidential, that we Americans owed an incalculable debt of gratitude to God for preserving the country through the turmoil and bloodshed of the War Between the States.

Together, these various celebrations and events formed the Thanksgiving traditions we now observe each year on the last Thursday in November. But do we always remember to express our gratitude to God? America is still standing, still free, still prosperous, still a land for which we should be especially thankful, a land founded upon Judeo-Christian principles; and yet, people today tend to celebrate the feast without acknowledging the Provider of the Feast.

One of the Hebrew names for the God of the Bible is Jehovah Jireh, which essentially translates “The Lord is my Provider.” (See Genesis 22:14) It’s wholly appropriate, because God’s people understood that “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens]….” (James 1:17 ESV)

“And this same God who takes care of [us] will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 ESV) Will you remember to thank the Great Provider and Sustainer during your Thanksgiving Day festivities?

Now, we fully understand that most people do not view Thanksgiving as a primarily religious holiday. Nevertheless, it is traditionally recognized as a day to give thanks, and to whom do we owe the most thanks if not the Creator of the Universe? In fact, the concept of giving thanks to God is woven into the fabric of Judaism and Christianity. Throughout the Bible there are countless scriptures on giving thanks, such as this one: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you….” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB)

Furthermore, God would wholeheartedly approve of Thanksgiving. We should daily count our blessings and thank God for His Love and care, but setting aside a special day to do so as a nation demonstrates the magnitude of our gratefulness to God for keeping our country and our families together and prosperous. In fact, God said, “You shalt feast in all the good things which the Lord thy God hath given thee and thy house, thou … and the stranger that is with thee.” (Deuteronomy 26:11 Douay-Rheims) Hm, sounds like a party — with God as the guest of honor!

So, when you sit down with friends and family today, before you carve the turkey, before you pass the sweet potatoes, remember to thank the Provider of your feast. And instead of muttering a quick and haphazard word of “Grace,” tell God in your own words, and with sincerity, how much you appreciate His safekeeping and provisions. Later, after the meal, before you plop down in the recliner to watch the big game, take time with your loved ones, to reflect on all the blessings you’ve reaped throughout the year. Thank the Lord for each one, and praise Him for His faithfulness. He delights in our praises, and He longs to hear our words of gratitude.

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praise to Your name, Most High.” (Psalm 92:1 ISV)

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How to Ruin a Good Omelet (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Ever hear someone say, “He’s a good egg”? Recently we discussed how similar people are to eggs, and a few of our readers probably thought we had finally cracked. Ouch! Eggs, like people, come in different sizes and colors. Eggs, like people, can have different backgrounds: eggs can be from hens, ducks, quails, emus, ostriches, etc.; and people can be from different ethnic groups or countries, have different gifts, talents, life experiences, etc. But despite all the differences, eggs and people are pretty much the same inside. Yolks and Folks are all equal once you get to know them, once you penetrate their shells.

Eggs, regardless of origin, color or size, can blend perfectly together in an omelet. People can blend together in the same fashion, to create a harmonious family, church, neighborhood or work environment.

There is, however, one egg you never want in your omelet, because it can spoil the whole dish: a rotten egg! We learned the hard way. Whisk together a single rotten egg in a dish with 11 good eggs, and you get an egg mixture that stinks! One rotten egg manages to contaminate all the other eggs. Which is why we “screen” our eggs. It’s easier to simply crack all the eggs into a single bowl when cooking, but we advise against it. Once the rotten egg is in the mix, it’s impossible to separate it. So we crack each egg into a small dish, examine it and smell it, before adding it to whatever we’re preparing.

Bet you’re way ahead of us this time. Yes, the same goes for people. One rotten egg can spoil your workplace, your church, your club, even your home!

So what makes a rotten egg? How about attitude? If you pay close attention, you can see the effect that a negative person can have on the moral of those around them. People within any type of group can be enthusiastic, ready to try new ideas and get the job done, but add one negative attitude, one person whose motto is “It can’t be done”; whose mantra is “It will never work”; someone who actually delights in raining on other people’s parades; and pretty soon everyone’s moral starts to drop. Say goodbye to a winning team, say hello to an “omelet” that stinks through and through!

Remember the 12 spies who reconnoitered the promised land? (in Numbers 13) Two returned with positive attitudes: “We can defeat the Giants and claim the promise!” But there were ten rotten eggs in the dozen. They said, We won’t succeed, and their stinking attitudes soon permeated the entire camp of the Hebrews, contaminating enough of the people that “The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land He promised them….” (Numbers 14:16 NIV)

Sometimes people speak words of gloom and doom simply because they themselves have repeatedly suffered defeat and have lost faith. But there are many other reasons people have stinking thinking. They may be fearful. They may just like to argue. They may be jealous or mean-spirited. They
may suffer from feelings of inferiority, and feel the need to build themselves UP by putting others DOWN. Whatever the cause, their rotteness can manifest itself in other ways, none of them healthy to the “omelet”:

Put-down humor, making fun of others, or telling jokes at someone’s expense! Nobody enjoys this type of humor when they’re the target. “Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too; Quarrels and insults will disappear.” (Proverbs 22:10 NLT)

Vulgarity and perverseness in the form of crude jokes, foul language, or sexual references. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

A critical or judgmental spirit: “Brothers and sisters, stop complaining about each other, or you will be condemned. Realize that the judge is standing at the door.” (James 5:9 GOD’S WORD)

How about gossip? The goal of gossip is usually to slander someone, but regardless of the motive, gossip is always divisive! A gossiper can destroy loyalties and relationships, disrupting the harmony within any group. “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” (Proverbs 16:28 NIV)

How about rotten Integrity? That kills trust in any group. So, “Whoever lives honestly will live securely, but whoever lives dishonestly will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9 GOD’S WORD)

If you don’t want your “omelet” to stink, you’ll need to get rid of the rotten eggs. In cooking, we toss them into the garbage disposal. But we don’t throw away people with rotten attitudes. NEVER! We first try to help them. We admonish them. And we love them. But if they refuse to change, we’ll need to follow Joel Osteen’s advice, and “Love them from a distance.” We can still be friendly and continue to help when we can, but we won’t be able to enter into any form of “partnership” with them. Rotten eggs can make you sick! So please try and be a good egg! “Speech that heals is like a life-giving tree, but a perverse tongue breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 NET Bible)

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