thanksgiving: A time of reflection and gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and gratitude of the many blessings of God, not of obtaining or amassing things we want from this world.

Whenever this holiday roles around, many of us become excited about getting off work for a few days, getting together with family and friends, eating a huge meal to our heart's content, and, some of us even use this time to put up Christmas decorations or, to get an early start in our holiday shopping.

As with various holidays we celebrate as believers, we must see way past some of these superficial meanings the world places on them, and give them true and proper relevance they deserve.

The way that you and I celebrate this holiday demonstrates the value we place upon it.

thanksgiving: it's Not just about the turkey

I like a good holiday turkey just as much as the next person does, but personally I feel its a bit overrated. Why should so much attention be given to one class of meat? There are other delicious types of meat (if you are a meat-lover), such as chicken, veal, venison, duck, ham, and so forth; but really, that's not the point at all, is it.

Giving to others also demonstrates how thankful you are in a world where covetousness ranks at a very high level within our society this day in time. When you give to those who are in need, God will bless you with much more to help provide for you and your family, and so that you, in turn, will give back to others again and again. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. This is the beauty of stewardship.

The meaning during this holiday, for a Christian especially, should be one of reflection for all that our good and wonderful Lord has blessed us with. Some of these things might include:

  • Your salvation: The fact that Jesus died for your sins, and has regenerated you
  • A great job/career
  • A wonderful family 
  • House, car, and other material things
  • A good church to attend and worship in
  • Wonderful and obedient children/grandchildren
  • A godly spouse
  • A nice bank account
  • Godly friends, and so on

Another value we place on this holiday is one of gratitude. Being grateful to God, to other people, or about situations, circumstances, or events that went well for you throughout this past year encompasses many of these great things to be thankful for.

Perhaps you got a raise at your job, or your son or daughter won the spelling bee at school, or your spouse got good news about a cancer scare. All of these are truly great things to be grateful for.

As a Christian however, yes we are to give thanks to God for His wonderful blessings; however, we are also told in the Bible to have thanksgiving and gratefulness for those things that go badly for us as well and how we should view them as they happen in our lives. Look at these passages of scripture that speak to these things:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us that, "In everything, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
  •  Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him."
  • James 1:2-8 instructs us, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth, is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
  • Ephesians 5:3-4 instructs us, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks."
  • Romans 5:1-6 tells us, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
  • 1 Timothy 4:1-5 warns us in saying that, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." And finally,
  • 1 Peter 5:10-11 encourages us, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

This is one holiday that asks us to ponder and think of all the good that has happened to us and to our friends and families throughout the year. Of course, this is truly a wonderful thing to do in and of itself, but perhaps you have observed how this holiday has also become somewhat commercialized over the years.

Have you ever noticed, that Halloween seems to be a hugely, celebrated holiday? Retail stores begin putting out all their Halloween merchandise already by mid-September or earlier. Thanksgiving then comes in quickly and appears to become a bit overshadowed and squeezed in right between Halloween and Christmas.

The very day that is so important for us to reflect upon and of which to show our gratefulness and gratitude seems to come and go so quickly, leaving us feeling slightly behind, overwhelmed, burned out, and a bit hurried because we then realize that yet another holiday is knocking at our purse's door, demanding all of its full attention as well.

Many of us tend to want to get the Thanksgiving holiday to hurry up and get over with so that we can begin the dashing rush on for Christmas. After all, there are presents to buy, decorations to hang up, parties to attend, and family members to invite over for the Christmas meal, which could also include (yep, you guessed it), another turkey!

As you celebrate this coming Thanksgiving Day, remember all the reasons for celebrating it, and giving this holiday its special significance, just as the Pilgrims did so many years ago at the landing of Plymouth Rock.

The meaning of this wonderful tradition for the believer is that of joy, celebration, praise, and thanksgiving for all of God's benefits He has given to us, that of His provision, protection, guidance, mercy, salvation, strength, grace, and so on.

Continue to worship the Lord in song, word, and deed, as you worship the Lord, thanking Him for all His goodness to you, and in doing so, you honor the Lord 'til He comes back in all His glory for you and me. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Related Articles:

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Charity Equals God's Love And Divine Nature

Cooking Skills For The Christian Homemaker

Stewardship: Demonstrating Faithfulness To God

Family Parenting: Instilling Principles And Values In Your Children For Life

Fruit Of The Spirit: The Character Of Christ

Salvation: The Foundation Of The Gospel Message

Materialism Causes Havoc On Your Finances

Oppression Believers Get From Satan In Times Of Crisis

Values In Christian Living

True Worship Of God

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