Thankful for His Providence here at Providence RV Park

We are in Thanksgiving week, the time of year where our name – Providence RV Park – shines with meaning and purpose.

We are thankful for the many blessings our heavenly Father has poured out on us this year. From the steady growth of our community to the beginnings of our expansion on the backside of the property to accommodate future residents, we are grateful for the wonderful people God has brought to Providence.

To say thank you, and enjoy some relaxing chat time this Thursday, the Community Center will be open for a turkey feast (with all the fixins!) for any residents spending the day here at the park. We may even play a little Christmas music to signal the transition into full-on holiday mode.

In the meantime, we wanted to share a few thoughts about this holiday straight out of the history books, and the lessons we can learn today…

Did you know…?

The First Thanksgiving was Actually a 3-day Celebration

Yes, just like the ancient Israelites, our plucky pioneering ancestors knew how to throw a party.

So take your time this year. Streamline any food prep to make sure your focus is on people. Make sure those you care about know how thankful you are to know (and/or be related to) them. Get others to tell their favorite stories, or after dinner, have everyone share a thought or memory they are most thankful for. Reflect on special blessings you’ve received from God. From children and grandchildren to the many lessons and truths you’ve learned on your life journey thus far.

If you have no family or friends with which to celebrate, there is always a local soup kitchen or food pantry. Volunteer to make the holiday a bit brighter for others.

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” –Tim Keller

Turkey wasn’t the Star of the Table

Although record had it that some of the colony’s men went “fowling” before the feast, and wild turkeys were among the game birds of the region, the menu was much broader. It included lobster, seal, and the five deer brought by their Wampanoag guests—not to mention the actual stars of the event: the season’s harvest. Many things missing from the original Thanksgiving, but popular today such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie are largely thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale (see more about her below). She shared widely circulated Thanksgiving recipes in newspapers.

Get creative, and maybe even start new traditions. If you don’t have a lot of turkey lovers in the group, consider replacing it with a duck, venison, or seafood—or a combination of any of these—knowing you are right in line with true Thanksgiving tradition.

Here in east Texas, many people skip the typically roasted bird for a Greenberg smoked turkey, a tender and aromatic delight people will wait in line for every year (it even made Oprah’s 2017 Favorite Things list!). So, do something different – a small tweak or a new tradition entirely – and add to the fun of your annual festivities.

Thanksgiving Took a While to “Take”

Washington made the first Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1789. But it wasn’t until 74 years later that Lincoln finally established the acknowledgment to Divine Providence as a national holiday.

Sarah Josepha Hale, (author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), was the Champion of Thanksgiving. For many years, she wrote congressmen, governors, and five different presidents for an annual day to thank God for His great providence. Unsuccessfully. Up to then, the only national holidays were Independence Day and Washington’s Birthday.

Sarah’s final letter to President Lincoln was during the tense times following the Civil War. It was a plea to restore unity with a national day to give thanks to our Creator. He responded four days later with the Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1863.

The lesson here?

Nagging works. Okay, maybe that’s not the lesson, but we can learn a lot from one patient, smart, determined little lady who made the history books with her many accomplishments (check her out sometime!) She brought us Thanksgiving and all the recipes to celebrate it in style.

Texas Was Doubly Thankful

Up to 1941, every president—except FDR—would annually declare the last Thursday in November as the national day for giving thanks for divine providence. For three years, Roosevelt declared it the second to last Thursday in order to extend the shopping season. Half of the states joined him, the rest stuck with the tradition of the last Thursday in November. Except Texas, the state that decided to take BOTH as a holiday (we never overlook an opportunity to celebrate). Congress finally cut the confusion, declaring it the fourth Thursday of November.

So–like Texas–be doubly thankful for the blessings our God has poured out on us as a nation. He is doing marvelous things in His people and our leadership in these historic times. Enjoy this special day of food, fun, and laughter across the land, and smile as you think of all the blessings we have today that our forebears did not.

Like propane fireplaces, turkey fryers, and indoor plumbing. Oh, and football.