Thanksgiving and Leftovers

A Turkey.

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Ah those wonderful Thanksgiving dinner leftovers!  They are just as good the day after as the day of, at least in my opinion.  I can eat turkey sandwiches for a week after Thanksgiving and not tire of them.  It is the week after Thanksgiving.  Many have left the warm confines of their homes and ventured out into the wild world of Black Friday.  Some were out at midnight for those specially advertised sales.  Others have been waiting in line since way before daylight.

But not me; nope  I have made it a rule for myself to do everything possible to never even leave home on the day after Thanksgiving.  If at all possible I’m staying in, watching movies and yes, eating on those delectable Thanksgiving leftovers.  I might even watch the news to see how shoppers have fared on their day-after excursions.  Some of the stories are tragic and others just plain old funny.  On either end of the stick I’m glad that I’m not one of the stories.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have anything against those who enjoy the Black Friday experience – To each his own.  I really hope they find what they are looking for and have a wonderful time in the process.  Folks it just isn’t my cup of tea and I don’t think you’ll ever find me out in the crowd.  If you need me, I’ll probably be right here at home.

The word “leftovers” often doesn’t get the right rating.  A lot of people snarl their nose at leftovers.  In the Bible there were two times when a miracle of Jesus produced leftovers.  Once He had fed five thousand people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread and on another occasion the number was three thousand with the same menu.  Each time there was more leftovers than what He originally started with.  You know what; I think I might have liked to have tried those Heavenly leftovers.

In Nehemiah 12:46 we read, “For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.”  The people were remembering how it had been during the days of David and Asaph.  The offices of the singers were very important to these men in the worship of God.  After their thanksgiving celebration the people of Israel under Nehemiah’s direction were trying to duplicate that so as to re-establish the wonderful worship of days gone by.  In a sense they were making trying to stretch the leftovers of their own worship for the coming days.  I believe that was a good thing.

When we have an unusually good time of worship with our Lord we want to bask in the leftovers of that experience, and we should.  That wonderful feeling of worship and closeness to God is something we want to last on and on.  It makes us to want to stretch that experience until the next one.  It’s a Heavenly leftover that we can always look forward to.

I pray that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  I sincerely hope that things went well for you and you made memories that will serve as pleasant leftovers for a long time to come.  We should want those kinds of leftovers.  We need to cherish those times and remember them in our hearts.  We never know when tragedy may strike and take away some of those family members we love.  But we can always relive those good times in our minds.

It’s the same with our spiritual thanksgiving.  Those times well spent with our Lord serve as pleasant memories that can encourage us in days to come.  Hold fast to them.  Never forget them.  Keep them close to your heart.  Then draw from them as the need arises.  Of course there will be new experiences in the Lord.  We’ll have more good times to come.  But never forget them and always give thanks.

Jerry D. Ousley is the Author of five books, “Soul Challenge”, “Soul Journey” “Ordeal” “The Spirit Bread Daily Devotional” and his first novel “The Shoe Tree.”  Listen to the daily broadcast Spirit Bread.  Find out more by visiting

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Hallmark Encouraging people to Give Thanks this Thanksgiving

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KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 8, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — Thanksgiving can be a perfect time to reconnect with friends and loved ones. With nearly 240 Thanksgiving cards available this season, Hallmark is encouraging people to pause and give thanks to their loved ones. According to Hallmark Research, more than 70 percent of Thanksgiving cards are mailed, the highest percentage for any season.  

“Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflecting on our blessings,” said Kristi Stanley, Hallmark Editorial Director.

For ease and convenience, there are Postage-Paid Greetings available this Thanksgiving in many different designs and messages. Just sign, seal and send.  The postage is treated like a Forever stamp, and its value will always be equal to the price of a standard First-Class stamp, regardless of when it’s mailed.

“Our postage paid cards give consumers an easy way to reconnect with friends and family from across the miles,” said Stanley. “Even if they can’t be together at Thanksgiving, a card is a wonderful way for them to tell someone how much they’re loved and appreciated.”

Like the idea of sharing gratitude in Thanksgiving cards, but not sure what to say?  Use these thought starters for a truly personal Thanksgiving greeting:It’s friends like you that … The only thing better than turkey and pumpkin pie is … The guys have football, but we have … It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without …

Thanksgiving Cards, including Postage-Paid Greetings, are available at Hallmark Gold Crown® stores and participating Hallmark retailers nationwide. Use the store locator on to find the nearest Hallmark Gold Crown store.  Postage-paid card prices begin at $2.50.

Hallmark makes the world a more caring place by helping people express what’s in their hearts and spend time together – a privilege few other companies in the world enjoy. Hallmark greeting cards and other products are found in more than 40,000 retail outlets in the U.S., including the network of flagship Hallmark Gold Crown® stores. The brand also reaches people online at and on television through Hallmark Hall of Fame original movies and cable’s top-rated Hallmark Channel. Worldwide, Hallmark offers products in more than 30 languages available in 100 countries. This privately held company is based in Kansas City, Mo., and is led by the third generation of the founding Hall family. Visit for more details.



The lesson of Thanksgiving: private property is best

The lesson of Thanksgiving: private property is best.


The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...
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If individuals can take from a common pot regardless of how much they put in, each person has an incentive to be a free-rider, to do as little as possible because what one fails to take will be taken by someone else.  Soon, the pot is empty.What private property does – as the Pilgrims discovered –is connect effort to reward, creating an incentive for people to produce far more.  Then, if there’s a free market, people will trade their surpluses to others for the things they lack.  Mutual exchange for mutual benefit makes the community richer. John Stossel

Old George Thanked God for America Why Can’t I?

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“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 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 for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war;  for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been able to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

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; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal authority as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789.



Giving Thanks

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth"...
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Almost from the very beginning of America the call to give thanks to Almighty God has been heard in the land. Even before the Pilgrims settled in Massachusetts the proclamation of Thanksgiving was sounded upon these shores.

One of the earliest recorded celebrations occurred a half century before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1621. “A small colony of French Huguenots established a settlement near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. On June 30, 1564, their leader, René de Laudonnière, recorded that ‘We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us.”

In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia’s James River. They were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but managed to endure, earning the distinction of being America’s first permanent English colony.

In 1610, after a hard winter called “the starving time,” the colonists at Jamestown called for a time of thanksgiving. This was after the original company of 409 colonists had been reduced to 60 survivors. The colonists prayed for help that finally arrived by a ship filled with food and supplies from England. They held a prayer service to give thanks.

While none of these Thanksgiving celebrations were an official national pronouncement (no nation existed at the time), they do support the claim that the celebrations were religious. “Thanksgiving began as a holy day, created by a community of God-fearing Puritans sincere in their desire to set aside one day each year especially to thank the Lord for His many blessings. The day they chose, coming after the harvest at a time of year when farm work was light, fit the natural rhythm of rural life.”

In July 1776, the American colonists declared independence from Britain. The months that followed were so bleak that there was not much to give thanks for. The Journals of the Continental Congress record no Thanksgiving in that year, only two days of “solemn fasting” and prayer.

For much of 1777, the situation was not much better. British troops controlled New York City. The Americans lost the strategic stronghold of Fort Ticonderoga, in upstate New York, to the British in July. In Delaware County, Pa., on Sept. 11, troops led by Gen. George Washington lost the Battle of Brandywine, in which 200 Americans were killed, 500 wounded and 400 captured. Early in the morning of Sept. 21, another 300 American soldiers were killed or wounded and 100 captured in a British surprise attack near Malvern, Pa., that became known as the Paoli Massacre.

Philadelphia, America’s largest city, fell on Sept. 26. Congress, which had been meeting there, fled briefly to Lancaster, Pa., and then to York, a hundred miles west of Philadelphia. One delegate to Congress, John Adams of Massachusetts, wrote in his diary, “The prospect is chilling, on every Side: Gloomy, dark, melancholy, and dispiriting.”

His cousin, Samuel Adams, gave the other delegates — their number had dwindled to a mere 20 from the 56 who had signed the Declaration of Independence — a talk of encouragement. He predicted, “Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.”

He turned out to have been correct, at least about the good tidings. On Oct. 31, a messenger arrived with news of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. The American general, Horatio Gates, had accepted the surrender of 5,800 British soldiers, and with them 27 pieces of artillery and thousands of pieces of small arms and ammunition.

Saratoga turned the tide of the war — news of the victory was decisive in bringing France into a full alliance with America. Congress responded to the event by appointing a committee of three that included Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia and Daniel Roberdeau of Pennsylvania, to draft a report and resolution. The report, adopted Nov. 1, declared Thursday, Dec. 18, as “a day of Thanksgiving” to God, so that “with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor.”

It was the first of many Thanksgivings ordered up by Samuel Adams. Though the holidays were almost always in November or December, the exact dates varied. (Congress didn’t fix Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November until 1941.)

In 1778, a Thanksgiving resolution drafted by Adams was approved by Congress on Nov. 3, setting aside Wednesday, Dec. 30, as a day of public thanksgiving and praise, “It having pleased Almighty God through the Course of the present year, to bestow great and manifold Mercies on the People of these United States.”

When the nation was finally established the First House of Representatives on Thursday, September 24, 1789, voted to recommend—in its exact wording—the First Amendment to the states for ratification. The next day, Friday, September 25, Congressman Elias Boudinot from New Jersey proposed that the House and Senate jointly request of President Washington to proclaim a day of thanksgiving for “the many signal favors of Almighty God.” Boudinot said that he “could not think of letting the session pass over without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining, with one voice, in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings he had poured down upon them.” and on October 3rd of that year President George Washington made the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation.

On October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared that the last Thursday of November 1863 would be set aside as a nationwide celebration of thanksgiving. His proclamation stated that:

“No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy…. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday in November next as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent father who dwelleth in heaven.”

Starting with Lincoln, United States Presidents proclaimed the last Thursday in November for Thanksgiving. Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the celebration to the third Thursday in November “to give more shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At this point Congress enacted the ‘fourth Thursday’ compromise.” Ever since this pragmatic and commercial approach to Thanksgiving was promoted, its original meaning has steadily been lost.

As a nation we owe a debt of gratitude to those who arrived here before us and set in place the practice of offering Thanksgiving to God for the preservation of this great nation. Without which I fear this young nation would have been lost before it even began. Although many today attempt to remove the foundation Religion played in the formation of this nation, it is quite clear to this reader that the Divine Providence of God was responsible for the very survival of these United States of America. Thanks be to God!