Today, it is quite common to read an article about Thanksgiving that makes no mention of God. Some promote the expression of gratitude one to another, while others ignore altogether the giving thanks part of Thanksgiving. Secular authors tend to deal with Thanksgiving simply as a commemoration of the harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621.
Our celebration today takes on many forms. For some it affords another occasion for getting drunk or gorging on the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. For others, Thanksgiving is all about family, a time to see aunts, uncles and cousins, and catch up on the news that has effected their lives in the intervening months. Of course, not all of these traditions are bad; there is something to be gained by taking time to be with family and enjoying a table filled with that bounty that we have come to expect. But it seems obvious to me that the real meaning of Thanksgiving is being overlooked, and the Object of our gratitude forgotten.
James 1:17 put it into perspective. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth he asked, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1Corinthians 4:7).”
Please don’t think that I am opposed to expressing gratitude to others, but I believe that we, as believers, should be the first to return this holiday to its “holy-day” status, at least in our homes. If we truly believed that all we are and have comes to us from the hand of God, it would change our perspective of Thanksgiving. As with love, the first recipient of our praise and thanksgiving should be our Creator God, by whom all things consist. “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (1Chronicles 16:34).”