Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! Got your turkey? Pumpkin pie baked? House cleaned and decorated? T.V. set for the parade? Are you looking forward to seeing family and/or friends, eating way too much food and watching football with them? I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays. The gathering of those who are close to us and celebrating without the stress of gift buying and giving that goes along with Christmas is one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas too! It is my absolute favorite Holiday but there is something about the simplicity of Thanksgiving that holds great appeal for me. A day dedicated to giving thanks. No gifts necessary, just an attitude of gratitude.
A quick insight to the history of Thanksgiving that you may or may not know, but we can thank Sarah Josepha Hale for this National Holiday. For thirty plus years she persisted with letters to the different presidents of the early to mid-1800’s to have the last Thursday of November declared a Holiday until Abraham Lincoln finally did in 1863. Sarah used her editorial skills for Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine to further her cause and to help people to learn the particulars of how to celebrate Thanksgiving, turkey and all. But most important was the giving of thanks to acknowledge God “as the dispenser of blessings.”1 Sarah Josepha Hale recognized the importance of what George Washington attempted in 1789 with a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer”2 and Lincoln must have agreed for he declared the observation of the last Thursday of November“as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”1
There’s so much more to Thanksgiving Day then turkey and pie. More to the history then pilgrims and natives. More than finding it in our hearts to be thankful for the abundance of food we share with family. It’s a day set aside where we can give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Even if you are in a desert or wilderness season right now, I would like to encourage you to try and find one thing to be thankful for even if it’s just for the air that fills your lungs. When we practice the giving of thanks not only on Thanksgiving Day, but each day, we can change our perspective from lack to bounty. We can begin to see the ways we are blessed when we live with an attitude of gratitude. Whether you are a believer in God or not, the words Paul write here are just wise to live by, but for those of us who do follow Jesus, we are called to live this out: “in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP
Easy? Hardly. Important? Definitely! Why do we give thanks to God? The Psalmist tells us why we should: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1 NIV. Our God is a good God whose overwhelming love for us sent His Son to the cross for our salvation and His love lasts throughout eternity and for that I am thankful!
So, enjoy the day with your family/friends or whoever you gather with, enjoy the food, the football and the abundance and maybe take one moment from the busyness of the day and be thankful because a heart turned to giving thanks can find treasure in each moment.