Being thankful when life isn’t fair is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.
Thanksgiving Day marks an annual celebration of family, food, football, and fun. But for Christians, Thanksgiving has a much deeper meaning that goes to the core of their spiritual beliefs.
The original Thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point, their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping beaver pelts for grain, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.
These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Native Americans in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Native Americans in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 Native Americans (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, November sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.
From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.
Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of Thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were being delivered from Pharaoh’s army after the crossing of the Red Sea.
Exodus 15:15 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation;
In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving should always be included in our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
"Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).
If the stresses of life are getting the best of you this Thanksgiving season, Maybe try some of these ideas that might help recenter your focus
* Write a Thanksgiving Poem or Prayer
* Share Thanksgiving Bible verses with friends and family
* Remember things of the past that you were thankful for
* Take communion and give thanks to Jesus for what He has done for you.
* Be a blessing to others by donating your time or a gift so that they can receive your Thanksgiving blessing.
We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life, there will always be things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be so 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, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material.