Thanksgiving: What about it?

The term Thanksgiving in the United States refer to a time of eating and drinking. It is a time to gather with family and friends. It is a time of pleasure. Thanksgiving is not a new thing. This form of giving thanks derived from the Pilgrims celebration of thanksgiving upon reaping their first harvest after arriving in the United States.

Today, Thanksgiving is viewed and observed by some just as a holiday for family, friends and pleasure. Thanksgiving for some is about eating a turkey meal. For others it is an annual celebration. Yet for others it is just an historical event without any recognition of Almighty God. However, for the pilgrims it was a time of showing gratitude to God for his blessings upon them. This is what the message of Thanksgiving should and must be about.

The Pilgrims' act of thanksgiving mirrored the scripture in Psalm 50:14. “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.” Today, the same is required of us. As Christians, thanksgiving must be a natural element of our worship. God has been good to us. Therefore, we must pay our vows of thanks and praise unto Him. It further must characterize all of our Christian life as indicated in Colossians 2:7. This passage indicates that we must be “Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” To be really serious about thanksgiving, we must be standing firm in God.

When we are rooted in the faith, we will not fail to give thanks. Rather, we will fulfill Colossians 4:2 which says “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving is continuous. It is not just a one day holiday festivity. For the Christian, thanksgiving is an every opportunity event. Thanksgiving is not just a theory, it is a verb. It requires action and/or demonstration of acknowledging the goodness bestowed upon us by Almighty God.

For Christians, thanksgiving is natural. It is a demonstration of gratitude for what the Lord has done. We see
for example an expression of thanksgiving for Christ's healing in Luke 17:15-16 “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud
voice glorified God… fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” This Samaritan was grateful for his healing and so in return he gave thanks. Have you been thankful lately? Think for a moment of all the things that God has done in your life. Have you taken the time to thank him? Or, do you just go on as if he had
to do it anyway? God did not have to do for you what he did. He did it out of his grace and mercy, hisunmerited favor for you. For all of this he deserves to be thanked.

The scripture also provided us with other forms of thanksgiving. For example in Romans 6:17-18, we see an emphasis of thanksgiving to God for delivering the
believer from sin. “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being
then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” It is salient to note that this same deliverance is available to you today. His grace is available if you are willing to accept it.

As Christians we are to be thankful for the grace of our fellow brothers and sisters. In 2 Corinthians 9:14-15, “And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” This gift of grace is without measure and it is free.

Christians do not always have it easy. However, if we abide in him, he will deliver us and make us victorious. Paul in 1 Cor, 15:57 demonstrated this form of thanksgiving. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we trust God our faith will grow stronger. As our faith increase even so we are to be thankful.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, what are you giving thanks for? Let us join with Paul and be thankful for the faith of fellow Christians as demonstrated in Romans 1:7-8 “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Let us remember the faith of so many of our fellow brothers and sisters. Some are faced with persecution and various challenges. Let us lift them up before God and be thankful for their faith.

As we give thanks for our fellow Christians, let us take an in-depth look at ourselves. Let us also be thankful for all that God has done. Let us be grateful. If in the past Thanksgiving was just about pleasure, this year you can make it different. Stop for a moment and remember who provided the turkey meal. Look around you and
acknowledge he who gave you family and friends. Maybe you have no family or friends, but you have life. That is enough to give thanks for. If for you Thanksgiving
was just an historical event, this year you can make it the reality it should be. Let this Thanksgiving be one of gratitude unto Almighty God. He deserves it.