WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - November 27, 2019
*Since we are in the week of Thanksgiving, we wanted to take a little different approach to this week’s news and focus on things that are much more important right now...thankfulness, gratitude, and giving. We’ll get back to our regular intersection of news and faith next week, but for now, take a break from the constant barrage of news and take time to give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Teaching our Kids History of Thanksgiving
If you were around in October 1621 at the Plimoth (yes, that’s the original spelling) Plantation, you might have been part of the “First Thanksgiving”. Here, the Native Americans and Pilgrims came together to celebrate the first harvest in the New World. The settlers had struggled the previous winter due to a lack of supplies and food. Many had starved or became ill and died as a result. Yet, a number survived. Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag tribe, had given the colonists food to get through their first winter. After the snow thawed, the Pilgrims gradually learned to live off the land. Squanto, from the Patuxet tribe, taught them how to grow corn and catch eel. After this successful harvest, they threw a three-day feast that included waterfowl, turkey, venison, corn, and various shellfish. read more
Although such festivities were held intermittently in the years after the first celebration, the first official call for a day of thanksgiving in the U.S., issued by the Continental Congress in 1777, enjoined Americans to offer both thanks and prayers of repentance to God. “That together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins,” says the proclamation. Twelve years later, George Washington issued the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation, also calling for a day of unified prayer for America.
However, it did not become a regular holiday in the United States until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation that the last Thursday in November should be celebrated as Thanksgiving. While food, family gatherings and a quick reflection of thankfulness are often staples for the Thanksgiving holiday today, how often do we really practice gratitude? We complain about this and that; we get agitated if we’re not served right away at a restaurant and after a store doesn’t stock our favorite brand of coffee. But is it a surprise, given we live in an age of abundance? When it comes to our everyday needs and wants, we have variety right at our fingertips. We can have any type of food delivered right to our doorstep. Our phones ping notifications on today’s trending news. And if you’re looking for entertainment, just open up your internet browser. While these can all be good things, we easily take what we have for granted, leaving a thankful heart on the backburner. People’s acts of kindness often go unrecognized, and in many cases, the recipient fails to say a simple “thanks” or give any acknowledgment. In an everyday quest to get things done, people are consumed by their own lives and forget to take the time to thank others. It seems as if the original intent behind that first Thanksgiving feast has been lost with time. I pray we can take heed to the word of Pilgrim Edward Winslow, who wrote the only record of the first Thanksgiving celebration that survives. In it, he poignantly says, “Although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want.” May we stop and remember why we have the privilege of celebrating Thanksgiving today and not so quickly forget God’s goodness to us.
Use the words of President George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation to help guide you in prayer today: “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor...Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks…and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
May we pass on the historical meaning and tradition of Thanksgiving to our kids and grandkids. The Plimoth Plantation has fantastic resources available to bring history to life for our kids. Check it out here. For the older kids and adults, watch the fascinating documentary called Monumental by our friend, Kirk Cameron. You’ll learn about the largest granite national monument in our nation that commemorates the Pilgrims and the role faith plays in our nation.
Thanksgiving is More Than a Holiday: It’s Meant to Change Your Life
There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up. I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20). And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, “I’m thankful for everything.” But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life. If gratitude is an antidote for anxiety and giving thanks is a real cure for stress, why relegate thanksgiving to a holiday when giving thanks can revolutionize our whole lives? I do this, record the gifts, gather the moments like manna. “Joy is always a function of gratitude — and gratitude is always a function of perspective.” It could be this feast every day — a Thanksgiving Feast every day. People who keep gratitude journals are 25% happier. Twenty-five percent happier. Is this why God commands us to always give thanks? What sane person doesn’t want to be 25% happier? If we are going to change our lives, we’re going to have to change the way we see. This recording our gratitudes, this looking for blessings everywhere, this counting of gifts— this is what changes what we are looking for. This is what changes our perspective. read more
As Christians, we know there are many verses in the Bible that talk about being thankful. In fact, we are commanded to be thankful. Thanksgiving and praise always go together, and we cannot adequately praise and worship God without also being thankful. But gratitude and happiness are more than just a state of mind or a gesture. There are some serious science-based theories behind each of these emotional states and their tremendous benefits as well. In today's news and ever-changing culture, we are overwhelmed with bad news and negative actions. So it will take a determined effort on our part to be proactive in cultivating gratitude. But it's oh so worth it.
Pray Psalm 100, a Psalm for giving thankful praise today: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
When thanks to God becomes a habit, joy in God becomes your life. Begin right now and take a moment to start collecting those small moments of gratitude by writing down three things, three blessings in your life that you are thankful for. I’ll start: 1) I’m thankful for each of you who read this every week! 2) I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend today in our nation’s capital, showing my young kids our incredible national heritage. 3) I’m thankful for the truth of His Word that came to mind this morning which said, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one” (2 Thessoloninas 3:3).
Thanksgiving: New Survey Says Americans Dislike Cranberry Sauce, Even Turkey But Still Eat Them Anyway
A new survey revealed the least popular items at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Instacart teamed up with The Harris Poll and found that 29% of Americans dislike canned cranberry sauce but still eat it anyway — 46% think it’s “disgusting.” The survey also found that 24% of Americans do not like green bean casserole and 22% don’t care for sweet potatoes. Nearly one in five people said they don’t even like turkey, but they eat it for tradition’s sake. Of those who have hosted, 30% have served something other than turkey as the main dish.
In a recent study, researchers divided the country into segments in order to identify their favorite side dish. The Southeast prefers mac and cheese (35 percent), the New England area gravitates toward squash (56 percent), Texas prefers cornbread (40 percent), and out West, they prefer a salad. Would you believe an average of 4,500 calories is consumed during the Thanksgiving meal? Whatever you might eat, do you have a favorite dish set you prefer to eat that yummy food on? Our friends at Feed on the Word have made it their mission to inspire you to delve deeper into God’s Word while enriching your family mealtime, friendly get-togethers, or a solo meal - all through the beauty of scripture on tableware. Check out their unique products here.
Lord, today we give thanks for all the blessings You have given us. We’re safe from harm; we are free to worship you; we have food to eat and despite challenges in our lives; we know that we are blessed. One of the things we’re most grateful for is Christ’s finished work on the cross. We ask that You would bless this Thanksgiving meal, the fellowship around the table and that you would continue to guide our family along Your path. In the name of your son, Jesus, amen.
Lord, thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives. Thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us. Thank you for your great love and care. Thank you for your sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life. Forgive us for when we don't thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you've given. Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh. Renew our spirits, and fill us with your peace and joy. We love you and we need you, this day and every day. We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For the last 20 years, I’ve used this tried and true turkey recipe to wow our family and friends. And it works every time. I’m happy to share it so you can use it too! As for my kids, they always ask for these potatoes. But please don’t ask me about the calorie count...just enjoy!
On #GivingTuesday, Equip a Christian to Vote
There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, then there’s #GivingTuesday - and it’s just six days away. Are you ready to be a part of this historic day? Giving Tuesday started in 2012 as a simple idea in America: a day that encourages people to do good by participating in charitable giving. Last year, nearly 400 million dollars was raised for non-profit organizations across the country in one day!
On #GivingTuesday, we’re inviting you to be part of the solution in our nation: Equip a Christian to Vote. There are days when it feels like unborn life won’t be fully protected, businesses won’t be able to operate according to their religious convictions, and the battle to defend God’s definition of gender and marriage is a lost cause. BUT there are 90-million Christians in America - and if they voted, it would forever change the course of our nation. You have a tremendous opportunity to influence our nation in 2020.
- All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election.
- Thirty-five Senate seats will be determined.
- The President of the United States will be chosen.
- Tens of thousands of state and local elections will take place across the nation.
What can you do? Equip a Christian voter with a gift of $3.20. Maybe you can equip one voter, two voters, or more. Partner with us on #GivingTuesday and - for roughly the cost of a cup of coffee - you’ll provide all the resources and tools to activate a Christian to vote in 2020.
Continue to pray for our nation and our elected officials. We’ve created an election prayer you can use for any election you participate in here.
Plan to donate on Tuesday, December 3, and join us in our 24-hour #GivingTuesday campaign. Don’t want to miss the date? Get a head start here. We can all do something, and when we do, we will influence the nation with God’s principles in 2020.
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.