If we could hop on a time machine (anyone got a used DeLorean?) and go back to the first Thanksgiving, we’d be surprised at how much different it was than our present celebrations. Back in 1621 turkeys were only about eight pounds, not like the twenty plus pounders today. So the main course consisted of seafood (in Massachusetts), venison, and chicken along with the turkey. And, according to my research, the early holiday was a three day affair with eating, partying and shooting guns. But there also was a religious (spiritual) undertone. They were THANKFUL!
Unfortunately the “religious” aspect of Thanksgiving began to fade into insignificance. While we all love family gatherings, a sumptuous meal and even football frenzy, thankfulness isn’t in the plan unless we bring it with us.
Besides that, it’s sad to think that thankfulness would be relegated to one day a year. Shouldn’t Thanksgiving be a celebration of an attitude of gratitude that we live by year round?!
I’m not a doctor. (I don’t even play one on TV) But I’ve heard that an attitude of gratitude can even have wonderful effects on our health. All the media we’re subjected to provides us with lots of “evidence” that things are bad – and getting worse. But most anyone can find something to be thankful for. As Christians we have a Bible full of truths that should “bless our socks off!”
There’s a passage in the Psalms I’ve always liked.
Psalm 100:4, 5 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and Hebrew has a bunch of words that deal with praise and thanksgiving. The word here in verse 4 translated “thanksgiving” is TOWDAH in the Hebrew. Strong’s gives these definitions: an extension of the hand, an avowal, or adoration; specifically, a (sacrifice of) praise. Now there is a wonderful attitude to adopt for November 24th and all year round!
Thinking about Who God is, and who we are in Him, should move us – at church or wherever we are – to lift our hands in thanksgiving. Bringing the sacrifice of praise (i.e., when we don’t feel like praising) and agreeing with God, rather than arguing about what we think.
I don’t understand the ins and outs of everyday life any more than you do. Things happen – or don’t happen – that I can’t explain. But God’s Word is still true. I am who He says I am; I have what He says I have; and I can do what He says I can do! And He is the One true living God.