HAPPY THANKSGIVINGIt’s time once again for the turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, biscuits, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.  Visits from friends and family.  Parades. Football.  Another holiday and a day off from work.  Excitement. Let’s not forget the world championship pumpkin chunking contest held in Sussex County, Delaware.  It’s called Thanksgiving.

While most are celebrating food and football, the “thin blue line” is on duty.  Holidays, as most of us know, is not always such a wonderful time, for those of us working find it difficult to be thankful for anything during this time because of the misery we usually encounter.  Let me encourage you to be thankful.

Thanksgiving has been an annual tradition since 1863, when President Lincoln declared a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Traditionally we recognize the Pilgrims celebrating at Plymouth in 1621.

The Continental Congress in 1777 recognized by a Proclamation of Thanksgiving:  “For as much as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy…”

It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to Almighty God, the giver of all good, for His gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner, to give Him praise for His goodness in general, ….”

George Washington in 1789 proclaimed:  “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 signal favors of Almighty God….”

Thanksgiving was founded as a religious observance for all to give thanks to God.

One of the greatest challenges we face is praising God on a regular basis.  We need to praise Him at all times.  Be they in difficult times or when things are going extremely well in our lives.  It’s easy to pray thankfully in good times but not easy in hard times.

Psalm 100 is known as “A psalm of thanksgiving”.

“Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before Him with joyful songs.

Acknowledge that Yahweh is God.

He made us, and we are His—

His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving

And His courts with praise.

Give thanks to Him and praise His name.

For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal;

His faithfulness endures through all generations.”

God doesn’t change.  He is the same today, yesterday, and forever.  Praise and thankfulness to God should be a daily experience.

So, brothers and sisters in blue, working on Thanksgiving, remember to take time to give thanks to God this day.  Remember his love, blessings, mercies, and protection He gives you every day.  Remember, and give thanks.

And when you begin your shift, remember to thank Him.  When you leave the last call you went to, thank Him.  Thank Him for your brothers and sisters in blue.

Finally, I challenge you to pray for the people you come in contact with on this day.  Pray for the people daily, but especially today, on your beat that God will bless them, give them strength, encouragement, hope, meet their needs, and keep them safe. Give thanks and praise that where you walked, was a safer place because you were there.

May you have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

Detective Gene Hall retired in 1997 after 30 years of service.  Gene has been a police instructor since 1973.  He is a Coordinator with the Criminal Justice Institute (Police Academy), Palm Beach State College.  Five years ago he was led to start a ministry for LEO’s call “thebibleandtheshield.com”.  He speaks to Christian groups about the need for outreach to police officers and their families.  This led to guest speaking engagements with Florida Men of Integrity/Iron Sharpens Iron conferences and representing the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers in South Florida.  He is an active member of the American Police Chaplains Association and affiliated with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.  In 2013 he became the first volunteer Chaplain with the Palm Springs (FL) Police Department.

Contact Gene at:  [email protected]

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