November is a special month when we celebrate Thanksgiving. For most people this is a time for families to gather and eat turkey with all the trimmings. Most understand that it is a time for being thankful for all we have, but unfortunately, many will not give thanks to the One who has provided the blessings we celebrate. According to The Reader’s Digest Encyclopedic Dictionary, thanksgiving is “the act of giving thanks, as to God” and “a public celebration in recognition of divine favor.” We celebrate a holiday that began in the autumn of 1621 in Plymouth with Pilgrims inviting neighboring Indians to join in a feast of gratitude for the bounty of the season, but Native Americans were conducting thanksgiving ceremonies, offering thanks to their Creator long before the Pilgrims arrived. Actually, the celebration of thanksgiving is as old as the act of honoring and praising God for the blessings He has provided. Thanksgiving may have been officially proclaimed as a national holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln but the act of thanking God has no beginning or end because His blessings continually flow to His children.
This Thanksgiving holiday, as you sit down to eat the bountiful meal that sits before you, remember the One who has made it possible for you to enjoy such a wonderful meal. Remember the One who has given you all that you enjoy including life itself. Remember the Lord and give Him the thanks He deserves. And let your prayer follow the pattern given us in Psalm 100, which reads:
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are 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 the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” (NIV)
And remember that in Matthew 25:40 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” If we truly want to express our thanksgiving to God we need to remember that what we do for others we do for God. Many will not be as blessed as us this Thanksgiving. Let us continue to seek new ways to reach out and help those who need our help in our community to show our thanksgiving to God.
And finally, I would invite you not to limit your celebration of Thanksgiving to one day a year. Give God thanks every day for His grace is ever flowing into your life and the life of those you love.
Your fellow servant in Christ,