Remembering the reason we celebrate the fourth Thursday in November

This week most of us will gather with family and friends to enjoy more than enough food and give thanks to Almighty God for the many blessings in our lives.

Faith has much to do with the significance behind the holiday. In the early 1600s, the Pilgrims fled England to live freely -- namely the freedom to worship God according to their own conscientious. The early days were certainly not easy, but following the Pilgrims' first successful corn harvest in 1621 what's considered the first Thanksgiving was held.

President Abraham Lincoln would declare the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day in 1863 -- in the midst of the Civil War.

Over the last week the Southeast Missourian has published several stories about individuals in this area who have special reason to be thankful this year. You can read more about their amazing stories online at semissourian.com/thankful. Special thanks to Saint Francis Healthcare for sponsoring our annual Thankful People series this year.

Scripture is full of references to thankfulness. And each of us, regardless of our circumstances, have reason to be thankful. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

May we all take time this week to reflect on the blessings in our lives, giving thanks to the Lord for his love, grace and provisions.

Happy Thanksgiving.