Many have forgotten and many have simply been misinformed regarding the heart and soul of the Thanksgiving holiday. Gratefully, the host of a national radio show reminded me yesterday of the fundamental purpose of this season of Thanksgiving. It is fundamentally a time to openly thank God in Heaven for Who He is and for His gracious provision. As President George Washington so beautifully put it when instituting the national Thanksgiving holiday:
Signed by Washington on October 3, 1789 and entitled “General Thanksgiving,” the decree appointed the day “to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”
Thus, just as the original Pilgrims gathered to thank God Almighty for His provision, so we also gather with those we love to thank God Almighty for Who He Is and for what He has done and for what He will continue to do. My friends, even in times when things are bumpy we give Him thanks. Our very existence depends upon and our salvation rests securely in Him.
Colossians 2:6,7 Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.
Those who are calling upon Christ as Lord are those who are literally overflowing with gratitude. In many respects gratitude has been lost in our world. Thankfulness has fallen by the wayside and is simply no longer practiced. When God is excluded from our thinking, gratefulness is lost. To Whom is one ultimately thankful if there is no Benevolent, Personal God? As the ever irreverent Bart Simpson prayed on one of the early commercials for the animated series, “The Simpsons”,
“Dear God, we worked hard and earned the money for all of this food so….thanks for nothing.”
Just remembering this still strikes angst into my heart. May we never, ever become such ungrateful punks. We are those who live in relationship with the One who has created us and redeemed us by His own will in His own power for His own glory. How could we not be thankful?
In the beginning, God spoke life into existence by His Word. At the cross, God offered Himself, the Only Son, that His perfect Love and His perfect Justice might be fulfilled. He has created us with His Word and redeemed us with His Sacrifice.