Thanksgiving

thanks-giv’-ing, noun 1.) The act of rendering thanks or expressing gratitude for favors or mercies. 2.) A public celebration of diving goodness; specifically, Thanksgiving Day 3.) A form of words, as a grace, giving thanks to the Divine Being. General Thanksgiving; in the Book of Common Prayer, a form of thanks prescribed for the ordinary blessings of life. Thanksgiving day; specifically, in the United States, a day set apart each year by executive authority, for public thanksgiving and praise to God, and celebrated by religious and social festivities, particularly family reunions. The Great Thanksgiving; that part of early and Oriental liturgies giving praise to God for his (sic) great works, as the creation of the world and man.     By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation   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; and   Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”   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...

Customs of New Year’s Day

Bible Study Supplement                                New Year’s Day Historical Study   We are going to take a relatively comprehensive look at the origins of New Year’s Day.  This historical study will also include some information on New Year’s Eve as these two go hand and hand.  We will specifically look at the historical origins of past years and compare those with the current traditions that are now celebrated.   For this historical portion of the bible study we will not be using any internet resources.  The only resources that will be used are from old books.  So let’s begin…   January’s “beginning being near the winter solstice, the year is thus made to present a complete series of the seasonal changes and operations, including equally the first movements of spring, and the death of the annual vegetation in the frozen arms of winter.  Yet the earliest calendars, as the Jewish, the Egyptian, and Greek, did not place the commencement of the year at this point.  It was not done till the formation of the Roman calendar, usually attributed to the second king, Numa Pompilus, whose reign is set down as terminating anno 672 B.C.  Numa, it is said, having decreed that the year should commence now, added two new months to the ten into which the year had previously been divided, calling the first Januarius, in honour of Janus, the deity supposed to preside over doors (Lat. Janua, a door), who might very naturally be resumed also to have something to do with the opening of the year.”1  “The ancient Jewish year, which opened with the 25th of March, continued...

Origins of St. Patrick’s Day

Bible Study Supplement                                St. Patrick’s Day                                Historical Study   This time we are going to investigate the origins of St. Patrick’s Day.  During this investigation we will try and discover the origin for the mandate to wear green, the symbolic significance of the leprechaun and clover.  For this historical study we are going to reference one old book regarding the historical significance of this that and see if we can get to the bottom of it.  Let’s begin…   A Historical Peek…   St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in March but where did this holiday (holy day) start.  St. Patrick “was born about the year 372, and when only sixteen years of age, was carried off by pirates, who sold him into slavery in Ireland; where his master employed him as a swineherd on the well-known mountain of Sleamish, in the county of Antrim.  Here he passed seven years, during which time he acquired a knowledge of the Irish language, and made himself acquainted with the manners, habits, and customs of the people.  Escaping from captivity, and, after many adventures, reaching the Continent, he was successively ordained deacon, priest, and bishop; and then once more, with the authority of Pope Celestine, he returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel to its then heathen inhabitants.”1  Here as with all previous historical study supplements we see once again Rome having played a hand in the origin of yet another celebrated American holiday.   St. Patrick has many supposed miracles attributed to him that appear to be originated the same as pagan legends.  A few of those include, starting a fire using...

Origins of Easter/Palm Sunday/Good Friday

Bible Study – Historical Study                                              Easter/Palm Sunday/Good Friday   This is a particularly important study as we dive into the origins of celebrated holidays, regarding Easter, Palm Sunday and Good Friday.  This study will take a comprehensive look at these holidays (holy days) utilizing mostly old books, one new book and two online resources.  While all roads seem to lead to Rome regarding the origins of holidays this one is the most important one to understand the origins.  While we as Christians remember Resurrection Sunday as the day that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead we must be certain that our practices during this time of the year do not blaspheme the Most High and His Son.  So lets begin…   Part One         Good Friday?   We are going to start with Good Friday and some common sense.  Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, three days after His death.  So going backwards we would go Saturday, Friday, Thursday.  If you went to a job interview on a Monday and they told you to come back in three days, which day would you show up?  Thursday of course.  So why Good Friday?   “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures.”  1st Corinthians 15:3-4   “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three...

Origins of Valentine’s Day

Bible Study – Additional Side Study                              Origins of St. Valentine’s Day   Let us take a brief look at a holiday (holy day).  This time we are going to turn our attention to St. Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps others have grown out of this holiday and no longer celebrate.  When I was in grade school we used to hand out Valentine’s to several of the opposite sex.  There was an exchange of little candy hearts with various sayings and heart shaped boxes of candy.  In my youthful ignorance I never once considered the origins of such folly.  For me it was just another holiday that I looked forward to.  Which girl would give me a Valentine; my mother would get us kids a box of chocolates.  However should a Christian celebrate St. Valentine’s Day?  Should they allow their children to celebrate it?   In this side study we are going to take a look at St. Valentine’s Day from a historical perspective.  We are going to use two sources that I obtained several years ago.  The first will be from an old book, the second from an online source.  Certainly there is much more information available online now than what there were several years ago, but this study is not meant to be in depth, rather just give you a basic overview.   Origins of St. Valentine’s Day   “Now, there is no custom without a reason.  But the reason for this cannot be found in the life of the good saint who is made to indorse the custom with his name.  He wrote no love-songs.  No one rises up...

Origins of Groundhog Day

Origins of Groundhog Day                                                    Bible Study Supplement – US History Study             Groundhog day is certainly not a holiday that many celebrate.  Yet every year there is an event that takes place in Punxsutawney, PA.  This has been going on since 1886.  According to groundhog.org, the official website of the event, “if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.”  This site admits that the origins of this event are from the Catholic Candlemas.  So just what are the origins of Candlemas?  This study will take a brief look into the origins of Groundhog Day.   A Historical Look   “From a very early, indeed unknown date in the Christian history, the 2nd of February has been held as the festival of the Purification of the Virgin, and it is still a holiday of the Church of England.”1  The popular name of Candlemas is derived from the ceremony which the Church of Rome dictates to be observed on this day; namely, a blessing of candles by the clergy…”2  “At Rome, the Pope every year officiates at this festival in the beautiful chapel of the Quirinal.  When he has blessed the candles, he distributes them with his own hand amongst those in the church…The cardinals go first; then follow the bishops, canons, priors, abbots, priests, down to the sacristans and meanest officers of the church”3   “It appears that in England, in Catholic times, a meaning was attached to the size of the candles and the manner in which they burned...