VIEW FROM THE PULPIT OCT. 9 – Thanksgiving in Canada

Sitting around our bountiful spread this Thanksgiving will be a happy occasion. So where did this Canadian holiday come from?

Sitting around our bountiful spread this Thanksgiving will be a happy occasion. So where did this Canadian holiday come from?Wikipedia states that this can be traced to the coming of Martin Frobisher, a British explorer landing at the area now known as Nunavut, looking for the Northwest Passage. Plagued by storms and ice, one of his 15 ships was lost. Robert Wolfall, a minister, encouraged them all to especially give God thanks for the “strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places.” French settlers coming with Samuel de Champlain had great feasts of thanks and shared their food with their First Nations neighbours. When American settler came across the border after the War of 1812, they brought with them their expression of thanks including turkey, pumpkin and squash.  As to why Canadians continued to celebrate this event our Canadian government website includes cessation of wars, health of the Prince of Wales, for cessation of grievous diseases, victories over enemies, and for God’s mercies. “Blessings of an abundant harvest” were the reason after Confederation from 1872 to 1920. From 1921 to 1930 the Thanksgiving coincided with the Armistice Day on Nov. 11. From 1931 to 1957 Thanksgiving was celebrated in early October “For general thanksgiving to Almighty God for blessings with which the people of Canada have been favored”.  In 1957 the Canadian government set the day of Thanksgiving to the second Monday of October and did not specify the reason by proclamation.As a Canadian today, what prompts us to celebrate? Looking back at our history and at our world today, we can be thankful that our troops have come home from active combat in Afghanistan. We can be thankful that we have elected governments federally, provincially and locally that can enact the wishes of our nation. Though it may take a long time to change the system and not please everyone, we live in peaceful conditions to do our work and enjoy our freedom.We can be thankful for a police force that keeps the peace even though the justice is slow and sometimes unfair.We can be thankful for schools that teach our children to be prepared for life even though it may take a long  time for them to find their niche and purpose.We can be thankful for work that is available for everyone even though the jobs available are not always to our liking.We can be thankful for our hospitals and care workers who are ready to care for our hurts and sicknesses and for a health care system that is a safety net for all, rich and poor.We can be thankful for churches that celebrate our reasons for Thanksgiving.We can be especially be thankful as we sit around our bountiful tables with our families to give God thanks for His many mercies. “Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).John SiemensPastor of First Baptist Church

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