NOTE:I wrote this as an article for Thanksgiving 2002 and while Iâ€™ve updated and revised it some, it is still timely for today. Iâ€™ve broken into three parts.
Thanksgiving is Thursday and many families are planning great feasts and reunions. Karen and I are looking forward to our girls visitingâ€”Becky and Tiffany, Tiffanyâ€™s husband Ben and our precious grandson Benjamin. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful American holiday and it comes wrapped in warm and rich tradition. Football, turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, the Macyâ€™s parade; all these are unique to America. I remember an episode of â€œThe Cosby Showâ€ where Dr. Huxtable has every family member give a short testimony for at least one thing they are thankful. That is my question to you: are you thankful?
Maybe you do not feel thankful. You have had a bad year financially. You have been through a bitter divorce. You have lost a loved one. You have lost your job. If youâ€™re a student, maybe this is the worst year ever for school.
Or maybe you take credit for all the blessings in your life. You might consider yourself a self-made man or woman. You may believe that everything you have comes from your own hard work. Then again, you may be very thankful and you give all the praise and glory to God Almighty. There are many reasons to be thankful and I want to look at three areas: the personal, the natural, and the spiritual. Before we go into these areas, letâ€™s look at the need for Thanksgiving Day.
Donâ€™t worry; this isnâ€™t going to be a short history lesson on the First Thanksgiving, although it is an interesting story. I will say that like most of our American heritage, Thanksgiving was begun by devout, Bible-believing people; in this case, the Puritans. They like the Psalmist said:
â€œLet us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.â€ (Psalm 95:2)
It is important for us to come before God as King David in his psalm of thanks:
â€œOh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!â€ (1 Chron. 16:8)
Does it sadden you that we have only one day of national thanksgiving? I know that much evil exists in this world and it can make us as a nation become callous and insensitive. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and told him of a day and of a people of which we are living in:
â€œFor men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholyâ€¦â€ (2 Tim. 3:2)
I shared this with you before, but my former pastor, Dr. C.W. Bess, came up with a good idea in his book, â€œSermons for the Seasonsâ€:
â€œAs a national holiday Thanksgiving rolls around with precise, annual regularity. Itâ€™s time to stop complaining, to pause, and to count our blessings. For one day a year we practice the grace of gratitude.
â€œHereâ€™s a better idea. We could designate one annual event on our national agenda to complain, grumble, and close our eyes on all blessings from God and people. Then the other 364 days we could live as a thankful people of God â€˜always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Fatherâ€ (Eph. 5:20).
Why not let everyday be Thanksgiving? Like CW and King David, we should wish
â€œTo the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.â€ (Psalm 30:12)
We face an uncertain future, one that is fraught with political and financial uncertainty. And while the road ahead of us is difficult, I think we should think hard on this quote from H.U. Westermayer:
â€œThe Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.â€
Tomorrow we will look at the personal, the natural, and the spiritual need for Thanksgiving.
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Copyright Â© 2009 David Jeffers