This week in the United States we celebrate something so very blessed and unusual in the world—“Thanksgiving.” Pausing for a moment, we collectively bow our heads to thank God for His provision and protection.
On September 6, 1620, “Pilgrims” left England for the new “America.” After two months on a storm-tossed sea, they landed on the shores of Massachusetts and held a prayer service. Tragically unprepared for a harsh New England winter, nearly half died before spring.
Persevering with great faith and assisted by helpful Native Americans, the Pilgrims reaped a good harvest the following summer and declared a three-day feast. In December 1621, they thanked God and celebrated with their new native friends. This first Thanksgiving began an annual tradition that spread among colonial states.
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War in 1863 set aside the last Thursday of November for national thanks:
- “We often forget the Source from which the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies come… No human wisdom hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God.”
- “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)
- “Give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 5:20)
- “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance...for out of it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Thankful people are the most joyous people on the face of the earth. That’s no coincidence.
This is a step beyond remembering God and thanking God for all that we enjoy in this world. It is thankfulness for His presence. Thankfulness for the relationship, for God being our Father.
So powerfully did Paul understand thankfulness, he wrote that it was what conditioned the prayers of the faithful…
- "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Phil 4:6)
As the psalmist declares:
- "It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to his name.”
Speaking words of thankfulness heals our hearts, fills us with anointed vision and conditions our lives for the power of His presence.
We are full of thanksgiving, because He has set us free!
Perhaps this Thanksgiving ‘holiday’ is how we should live every day, not just once per year. And, perhaps it’s a celebration that should take place in every home in every nation.
I am deeply thankful for you. For your friendship and faithful prayers.
My prayer for you today is to live your life in God-ordered health—mind, body, soul and spirit—full of thankfulness for His love and mercy.