Giving Praise to God on Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and as we all know a national holiday in the United States. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for being our provider. Unfortunately, in many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance.
We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about, but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked. Instead, it now centers on the Macy’s parade, football, cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends.
The Bible is filled with directives to give thanks to God. Most verses go on to list reasons why we should thank Him, such as “His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:3), “He is good” (Psalm 118:29), and “His mercy is everlasting” (Psalm 100:5). Thanksgiving and praise always go together. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart that reinforces an intimate relationship with God. We cannot adequately praise and worship God without also being thankful.
Giving thanks also reminds us of how much we do have, rather than focusing on what we don’t have. When we focus on blessings rather than wants, and by sharing our bounty with the less fortunate, makes us happier. Gratitude helps people to have more positive emotions, improve their health and build strong relationships. Studies over the past decade have found that people who conscientiously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. Giving thanks to God keeps our hearts in the right relationship with Him and saves us from what will rob us of the peace God wants us to experience (Philippians 4:6-7).
For expressing thankfulness helps us remember that God is in control. It reminds us of the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians).
In our family, we start Thanksgiving Day by going to church. Football is not the main event. When dinner is ready and once everyone is seated at the table, we start with a prayer that my father-in-law wrote on the last Thanksgiving he was to be with us.
This prayer is followed by going around the table and each person (including children) expressing what they are grateful for this year and why.
May God find us grateful every day for all of His gifts; spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). May He find us to be His grateful children, young and old.
Wishing you all a BLESSED Thanksgiving Day surrounded with family, friends, plentiful food and may your table be filled with sharing and laughter.