As we approach Thanksgiving, we always tend to list what we are thankful for. While I will do that next week, I want to share the heart behind such a holiday. We all know the story of Thanksgiving and how the Pilgrims celebrated the first one, but it goes much deeper than that.
The Bible tells us to count our blessings. We are blessed so richly every day, even when we don't realize it or pick up on it.
Just waking up every day is a blessing we so often take for granted, especially when so many young folks are dying.
We have so much to be thankful for.
One thing the Bible says is, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:1 ESV)." What this verse means is, first and foremost, our thanks go to God for EVERYTHING, through the good and the bad.
Thanking God for another day of life is so important, as well as for platforms and where He places us to serve Him.
Another verse that points to the heart behind Thanksgiving is 1 Corinthians 15:57, which says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)." In this verse, the victory Paul is referring to is the victory Jesus scored over death and sin through his death on the cross and resurrection.
We should be thankful daily for that victory because, without it, we would not be able to experience the love and grace God has for us.
Another verse dealing with Thanksgiving is Colossians 4:2, which says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (ESV)." What Paul is telling the church at Colossae, as well as us today, is that we should seek to pray with thanksgiving in our hearts, giving thanks for all things in our lives.
We have so much to be thankful for in our lives, and giving thanks to God for those things in prayer is essential.
One final verse dealing with Thanksgiving is Philippians 4:6-7, a passage I have referred to several times this semester. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, 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 in Christ Jesus (ESV)." This passage tells us that even when it seems like things are going wrong, we still have so much to thank God for.
We have so much to give God glory for. In those times, we can run to Him, thanking Him for life and asking for His will to be done in your life.
Just to conclude, Thanksgiving begins in the heart.
It begins with our walk with Jesus.
Thanksgiving shouldn't be just a day when we pig out on lots of food and say what we are thankful for. Rather, it should be a daily activity.
It should be an attitude that we put to practice daily through prayer, thanking God daily for the blessings He has given us.
This Thanksgiving, as you're celebrating with family and friends, my challenge to all who read this is to remember to thank God for the blessings He has given to you. Even if situations may be stressful or not ideal, thank God for what blessings you do have. Pray for those who may be less fortunate, and share the love of God with them, as well as those around you.