"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his[a]; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100
When I was younger, Thanksgiving was pretty much just another holiday—a day when I got to eat a whole lot of good food and nibble on all the sugary stuff I wanted.
In fact, one year it only took me, my sister, two forks and about 30 minutes to finish off the rest of the pecan pie, while everyone else was either glued to the football game or snoring in a recliner. We had no regrets, and
I'm pretty sure we'd do it again.
But besides being a holiday when I had permission to indulge, thanksgiving was also a word my grandfather always incorporated at the end of his prayers: "And with thanksgiving, in Jesus' name, Amen." I always wondered why he used a word that made me think of cornucopias and construction-paper turkeys; but he had the Th.D. in our family, and I did not. So I knew he must have had a good reason.
Years later, I think I now understand. In that one word, he was saying "Thank You for giving." You, being God. From my grandfather's example, I see that thanksgiving was more than a one-day family gathering. It was and is a way of living, a daily act of expressing gratitude to our Maker who first gave to us.
At this time of year, I sit and think about when I last thanked God for giving me anything—let alone His son, Jesus Christ. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't remember. But I know that I want to make such gratefulness as prominent as the giant turkey on the table and see thanksgiving become a way of life.
There's no better thanksgiving wisdom than that found in God's Word, specifically The Old One-Hundredth (Psalm 100). If you open your Bible and take a look at this passage, you'll see a notation under the heading: "A psalm. For giving thanks."
Following that, there are many directives listed that can help us live our Thanksgiving ...
- Make a glad sound to the Lord
- Give worship to the Lord with joy
- Come before Him with a song
- Be certain that the Lord is God
- Come into his doors with joy, and into his house with praise
- [Remember] for the Lord is good … His mercy is never-ending … His faith is unchanging
Reflect on these today, and ask the Lord how He can help you really live your Thanksgiving each day of the year.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Your celebration with friends or loved ones is probably already planned by this point. But here is your Thanksgiving Day challenge: take time to "live your Thanksgiving" and call or visit someone who is alone or having a hard time (for whatever reason) on this holiday.