Word of the Week: Thanksgiving

 Thanksgiving.2

It was the day before Thanksgiving and Michelle wanted to emphasize the importance and meaning of Thanksgiving to her pre-school class.  She decided to playfully contrast it with some incorrect ideas.  The dialogue went something like this. 

“Now let me think.  Thanksgiving.  That’s the day when we think about all the stuff we have.  And how we want more things than anyone has.  It’s a day we don’t care about anybody but ourselves.  And….

“Noooo!”  The children were beginning to shout in unison.

As the teacher began to smile and the chorus of No’s began to subside, a little fellow in the middle of the room looked up and chirped, “That’s not Thanksgiving, Miss Michelle.  That’s Christmas!”

Our Word of the Week is “Thanksgiving.

From the Old Testament to the New, God has called His people to be people of thanksgiving.  Appreciation. Gratitude. 

The Psalmist penned, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,  And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.   For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. –Psalm 100:4-5

The apostle Paul commanded, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  (Phil 4:5-6).

For many years the holiday of Thanksgiving has remained untouched by commercialization.  However, more and more stores are opening on Thursday.  People are preparing for shopping bargains on Black Friday.”  And even if we are not caught up in the rush and doing our “Christmas shopping” it is easy to allow Thursday just to become a day that we stuff our selves with food. Watch some football. And enjoy a day off work.

The spirit of Thanksgiving is rooted in the deep appreciation for the corn harvest after a rough first year in the new world that killed almost half of the Plymouth colony.  Governor William Bradford declared Decimeter 13, 1621 be “hailed as a day of Thanksgiving.  Finally in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the fourth Thursday be set aside as a national day of Thanksgiving for the bounty of God’s blessings.

Christians, of course, recognize that Thanksgiving is not just a single holiday.  But a way a life.  An attitude of gratitude.  A daily recognition of God’s providence.  His goodness.  His grace.  And mercy.

It’s that spirit that allows us to change our problems into possibilities.  And to turn our troubles into triumphs.  Thanksgiving is not dependant on a certain set of circumstances, but a certain set of attitudes.

The Bible says, “in everything give thanks” (1 Thess 5:8).  Everything?  Yes!  Even adversity bears the seed of some benefit.

William Law said, “If everyone could tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness and all perfection, he must tell you to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you.  For it is sure that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.  Could you therefore work (wonders), could you not do more for others than yourself by this thankful spirit; for it turns all that it touches into happiness.  You want to be happy, be thankful! 

Thanksgiving also leads us to seize opportunities to care and share with others.  Thanksgiving is inward focused attitude that is glad one is better off than others.  It is touched by the problems and plight of those who are struggling and suffering. And then to serve and help as we are able.

Finally, in the midst of our abundance, take time to think and to thank.  Consider your material blessings.  Your family.  Friends.  Spiritual fellowship. Talents.  Abilities. Gifts.  Opportunities.  A beautiful sunrise or sunset.  The wonder of God’s creation.  Your health.  Your hope.  And the promise.

Let’s make Thanksgiving more than a day in which to indulge in turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie.  More than a day a football.  But a spirit that fills our heart.  Widens our perspective.  And daily directs our lives.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Word of the Week: Thanksgiving

  1. Every day I get up I am thankful and think what good thing is God going to bless me with today. He never runs out of such things. Col.3:17.

  2. Carol Moyer- Arnold

    Ken,Thanks for the article – as always! “Giving thanks in everything” a powerful scripture. Being thankful is the key to being happy. We cannot be thankful when we are complaining about our circumstances… looking for the good and continuing in trust makes life more content. “Godliness with contentment is great gain!” Happy Thanksgiving …everyday! God bless you and yours!

  3. Pingback: Friday’s List to Live By #2 | ThePreachersWord

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