Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Loreena Thiessen: Giving Thanks for History

Do you know that history can make you more thankful?

In 1620, almost 400 years ago, a group of 120 Pilgrims sailed from England across the ocean. They came looking for a new place to settle, a safe place where they could worship God and live in peace. They landed in America. They came for the same reasons people still come today.

Only 45 years earlier Martin Frobisher, another Englishman, also set out across the ocean. He was looking for a new passage to India for trade. Instead he found Labrador, the most eastern coast of Canada. It was a rough voyage and very cold. When he was finally able to land he made a feast to thank God for safety and for the abundance of food to share.

After the Pilgrims settled they needed a new leader. The people chose their new leader by voting, each person making a choice. The one with the most votes became the new leader. The people also solved other problems by voting. This is called a democracy.

And they wrote a set of rules called the constitution. The constitution is a set of rules the government must follow. These laws guide the government’s decisions and protect its people.

Today you benefit from both of these events. Since then many thousands of immigrants have come to Canada and the United States from many different countries. They are teachers and doctors, and your friends and neighbours. Some of them may be your family.

Canada, too, has a constitution. Canada’s constitution gives you the right to speak your language, get an education, visit the doctor, and choose your friends. You can also choose your Prime Minister by voting once you are an adult.

A hundred years ago if you got sick you had to pay to see a doctor. A stay in the hospital would cost even more. Not everyone could pay. People used many home remedies. For example, dry mustard was mixed to form a paste and would be placed on your chest if you had a cough. Epsom salts were put on cuts to clean them. Onion halves and garlic were placed on window sills to absorb viruses and bacteria.

Many people did not get well. A man called Tommy Douglas wanted to change that. He believed that every Canadian deserved the right to have good health care if he had money or not. He saw sick people suffer because they could not see a doctor. He wanted to help them.

To help them he joined the government. He made speeches to tell everyone his plan. In 1966 his plan came true. Today you and each Canadian can see a doctor if you are sick.

When early settlers first arrived in Canada there were no roads. People travelled by boat or over trails on horseback. Canada’s first cars were imported in 1898 from the United States. In 1904 the Ford Motor Company was the first factory to build Canadian cars. The factory was in Toronto.

Mr. Henry Ford tested his cars by first trying them out on the rooftop of his factory. He wanted them to be safe for every Canadian family. But roads were bad, full of deep holes, and, cars often had to drive through creeks to get to the other side. A long trip across Canada could take many months.

In 1949 the government first approved the TransCanada Highway. Construction began in 1950 and, although it was officially open by 1962, it was only completed in 1971. Did you know the TransCanada Highway is the longest highway in the world? It is 7,714 kilometers long from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

Loreena Thiessen

Today this highway lets you travel from the east coast, across the prairies, and through the Rocky Mountains in about a week. Stopping along the way to enjoy all the beautiful places would take much longer.

Think about all the things you enjoy. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from God.” What are you thankful for?

Activity: Make a leaf garland.

Need: coloured craft paper, hole-punch, scissors, pencil or felt pen, string, straight twig.

Do: Draw, or trace, leaf shapes (you can use real leaves to trace around) on different colours of paper. Cut them out. Write one thing you are thankful for on each leaf. Punch a hole at the end of each leaf. Pull a short piece of string through each hole and hang the leaves on the twig. Display the twig on a shelf or in a window.




Loreena Thiessen: Ten Things for Which to be Thankful

By Loreena Thiessen

It’s October and time for Thanksgiving. You regularly give thanks before each meal. It has become a habit. But you have much more to be thankful for.

Like shelter, a house that keeps you dry and warm when it rains or when temperatures drop. It’s a safe place to eat, sleep, hang up your clothes, and store your collections. It’s peaceful. You’re in charge. You can lock the door, or open it.

Millions of people around the world do not have a home, they are homeless because of floods, or war, or because they lost their jobs. Be thankful for your house.

What about clean drinking water? You’re thirsty. You go to the fridge, open a bottle and take a sip. You expect it to be clean and safe. Millions of people do not have clean water to drink. They collect water from puddles or streams. Dirty water makes them sick.

When you’re hungry you get a snack or a sandwich. At supper you have a good dinner. You eat as much as you want. Food is fuel for the energy you need each day. Millions of people all over the world do not have enough food to eat. Constant hunger causes pain. They become weak and fall ill.

Are you healthy? To keep healthy you must eat healthy, get enough sleep and exercise. Being healthy you are able to listen and think better, you enjoy playing and working. Be thankful for your health.

Do you have good friends who share your fun, feel your sadness or excitement, spend time with you, are fair and kind? And don’t forget your family. They love and support you no matter what. You can depend on them. Be thankful for them.

At times you meet someone new who becomes a friend. Now you have another person to share and have fun with. You learn new things. Be thankful for that new person.

Are you thankful for technology? Do you have a PlayStation, Nintendo, Game Boy, or a phone? These are luxuries you may think of as necessities. You learn skills and have fun. Your phone keeps you connected. Remember to be thankful for these.

There are many ordinary things you enjoy. Sunrise and sunset give colour and light to your day. The sun warms you and makes things grow. Trees give you clean air. The ocean cools and provides you with salmon, tuna and lobster. Rivers and streams give you opportunity to go fishing with your Dad or Grandpa. Flowers make parks beautiful. Don’t forget to give thanks for these.

Loreena Thiessen

What happens when you face a difficulty? Overcoming a difficulty you may learn something new or grow stronger. Be thankful. Every morning when you wake up, be thankful for another new day to enjoy all that you have.

Read Psalm 104:1, 10–25. See how God provides for the earth and all its inhabitants.