This holiday is rooted in the traditions of Christians who came to this land for the purpose of being able to worship the one true Lord in the way they felt He was leading them. The English colonists we call Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving as part of their religion. But these were days of prayer (to the one true God), not days of feasting. They were aware that none other than God Most High had blessed them and they were grateful.
Things have changed. Thanksgiving now signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It is a time for scattered families to reunite if just for a day or weekend (I enjoy that aspect of the holidays a lot). Most glaringly apparent to me recently, though, was the vague nature of the thanksgiving I was reading about in the newspaper. People say they are thankful, true, but its not true thankfulness. It’s more of a phantom sensation of happiness that they aren’t very sad or a sensation of being satisfied with earthly things instead of lacking a lot.
The original Thanksgiving celebrants had a target toward Whom they literally GAVE THANKS. They had a specific Someone that they correctly identified as being the Source of not only the enjoyable things in their lives but also the hard things. They were truly grateful for both.
The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul tells us to:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thess 5:16-19)
This is not a call to voice some vague words of recognition that there are things for which we are kind of happy. It is a specific urging for us to specifically recognize that everything in our lives is a gift from God and to specifically thank HIM for that.
It is God’s will that we do this which means that we will be blessed since He has designed us to flourish when we obey His design for us.
In the Word there are many examples of His people doing just this very thing. Here is one of my favorites:
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth” (1 Chronicles 16:8-12)
As we specifically give thanks to Him this year, you are part of that for which we are thankful. We give thanks to the Lord that He has brought you into our lives.
In His service and in thankfulness specifically to Him,