Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day for us in America. The event we commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in this country. Their feast lasted three days, and it was attended by both Native Americans and Pilgrims. However, celebrations of feasts and times of giving thanks go back further in time than the 1600s. Throughout the Bible, we find references to feasts being observed in honor of what the Lord had done for His people. According to the Jewish faith, there are seven feasts they observe. The Israelites enjoyed special food at these feasts, but more importantly they celebrated how the Lord intervened in their lives. Honoring the workings of the hand of God is the most important reason for thanksgiving feasts whether the times be observed by the Israelites, the Native Americans and Pilgrims, or us today. I want to give the Lord a prominent place on Thanksgiving Day. I want to honor Jesus as the unseen but not uninvited guest at our Thanksgiving table.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving celebrations include a feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, cranberries, pumpkin pie etc. While I think about loading my plate with the Thanksgiving dinner and all of its trimmings, I am reminded of Psalm 68:19 NJKV, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” On this special day, I want to take time to give thanks to the Lord for the benefits He loads upon my life every day as well as to give Him thanks for the food I load upon my plate. Thanksgiving Day is a special day to focus upon being thankful but I desire to give thanks to the Lord daily just as He daily pours out blessings upon me.
As I look upon my full plate of food tomorrow, I want to think about Psalm 34:8 NIV, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.” As I taste the delicious foods, I also want to take time to tantalize my spiritual taste buds to experience the goodness of the Lord. A full gravy boat is always found on our Thanksgiving dinner table. Pouring out the gravy on my potatoes reminds me of the grace God pours upon my life. His grace is my gravy! I must admit that my soul will be contented longer with the goodness of the Lord than my stomach will be satisfied because of the turkey and stuffing I will eat.
I predict that by the time I have eaten all the food that I put on my dinner plate, I will be very full. I will declare that everything was delicious and I will thank everyone who has helped to prepare the meal. This fact reminds me of the scripture found in I Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” My attitude of gratitude must extend beyond thankfulness for food. It is polite to thank others for what they have done, but I also want to perceive them as vessels God has used to orchestrate the blessings I receive. I want to direct my thankfulness first and foremost to the Lord. On Thanksgiving Day I especially want to take time to verbally thank God for specific blessings He has bestowed upon me during the past year.
As I conclude, I think back to the Pilgrims and the Israelites. The early colonists regularly celebrated “thanksgivings” by setting aside days of prayer to thank God for His blessings. The Bible reveals that the Lord instructed the Israelites to celebrate and give thanks more than one day a year. Yes, as Americans, we still celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. However, I believe every day should be a day of giving thanks based upon Psalm 118:1 NIV, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Let us follow the advice of Paul in Ephesians 5:20 NIV, “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”