Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks to our Lord for everything that He has done for us and all the trials He carried us through during the year.
A Church Thanksgiving program should honor Thanksgiving Day by reflecting on what the true meaning of day is all about; giving thanks to God. Over the years, people have gotten caught up in Holiday tradition and have completely forgotten what brought about the holiday celebration to begin with. Even the most devout Christian has a way of putting that delicious meal ahead of remembering what the day is really all about and how it came to be. From time to time we all need to be reminded of the struggles for survival that our forefathers faced. Today, there are people all over the world who are facing the same struggles; living in a hostile environment; starvation, death by disease, etc. But, even through the worst of the worst the Pilgrims still called on God and gave Him praise for all the He had carried them through and all that He had provided. We as a church need to reach out to the people today who are facing theses struggles and show them that they too have much to give thanks for; no matter what situation they are in.
A wonderful church program to honor this wonderful celebration would be to prepare a dinner for the community's homeless. As well as having the meal, also ask that everyone bring a toy and one canned good to be collected for giving to others in need. Before the dinner, it would be wonderful to share with them the true meaning of the day by having the children do a play depicting the very first Thanksgiving Dinner and what led up to it.
We seem to have gotten away from teaching our children what the origin of Thanksgiving Day is. It would not only enlighten the children about the true meaning of Thanksgiving, it would also remind the adults that this special celebration is more than just preparation of a large family meal. A children's play would take us on a journey back in history and remind us of the struggles that the pilgrims went through that led up to the very first Thanksgiving dinner. Many people tend to forget that the Pilgrim's had every reason in the world to be scared and worried about their survival; but instead they were joyous and thankful. Their first winter had killed 44 of the original settlers that had come over with them and they lost most of their crops. It was a miracle that they were even able to survive. They took their struggles and used them as a learning tool for the next season which produced greater crops. They had found neutral ground with the surrounding Indians and were thankful to God for getting them through it all. To share their joy, they invited the neighboring Indians to join them in their feast as they rejoiced and gave thanks to God.
Putting the true meaning back into Thanksgiving Day by providing not only a wonderful dinner for people in need, but also a children's play depicting the day's meaning would be a great production for any Church to consider. It would help those who forgot the true meaning remember, and those who never knew it to be grateful to the pilgrims for their struggles to survive and still be able to give thanks to Our Lord.