Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated November 22. It is a day when many families get together to serve a big meal and enjoy one another’s company. Many of us have very pleasant memories from our childhood of this special day. But Thanksgiving Day is about more than just making good family memories. It is about giving thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord. While some national holidays may be frivolous or trite, this one should be precious to us all. It is a day that was set aside by the Christian forefathers of our country, in order to specifically recognize the God of the Bible as the source of our every blessing and provision.
Of course for God’s children every day should be a day of thanksgiving, but we should be grateful that we live in a nation in which we are still called to a day of giving thanks. The Apostle Paul made reference to giving thanks four times in the Colossians letter. There is a tendency to minimize the importance of a subject like this. Someone may respond, “I know we are to be thankful, so I don’t need that kind of basic admonition.” But when the Scriptures speak of being thankful, it involves more than just giving thanks at mealtime or acknowledging “I have a lot to be thankful for” when things are going well for us and our loved ones.
It includes an inner attitude; it refers to a way of life.
We are to be careful to maintain a grateful spirit in every event of life, regardless of whether it is a time of abundance or a time of leanness. It is not a principle than increases or diminishes with changes in our health, our wealth, or other circumstances. This requires more than just an optimistic personality or the power of positive thinking: it is a command to cultivate the right responses, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to each and every challenge or opportunity with which we come into contact. What a difference it makes when we are truly thankful to God for His abundant mercy to us as fallen sinners and for the daily blessings which He as given us!
If we are thankful, we are focused on God, not on ourselves.
If we are thankful we are not complaining but learning to be content. If we are thankful we are not resentful; we are submissive to God’s will. The Scriptures associate the spirit of ingratitude with the ungodly. Let us seek, not only in times of joy but in every part of life, to display an attitude which springs from a thankful heart. May this Thanksgiving Day be a time for us to examine our hearts to be sure we have rooted out all complaints and purpose in the days to come to live in gratitude to our Creator God. May we above all give thanks for the “unspeakable gift” – Jesus Christ Himself.