Today is Thanksgiving. A day for turkey, stuffing, cranberries, oyster stew, pumpkin pie, and generally just eating to excess. It is also the day that kicks off the Holiday season. Christmas trees and lights go up. Christmas music will be on the radio and in all the stores. Santa arrives at the malls and in the parades. Tomorrow is Black Friday - one of the biggest shopping days of the year with stores opening at midnight and big sales.
But what is this holiday all about? We are reminded of pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, and sharing a feast with neighbors. The pilgrims, of course, came to North America for one primary reason - religious freedom; so they could worship God in accordance with their beliefs. Contrary to popular teachings, the information that I have been able to find makes clear that Thanksgiving was not celebrated to thank the Indians for their help. Rather, it was exactly what it sounds like. It was a feast to give thanks to God for His blessings and His grace.
Over the last couple of days, I have driven by a Baptist Church with a sign out front that says "Thanksgiving is not a day, it is a way of life." What a message! While it is great that we may pause today to give thanks for the blessings that have been poured out upon us, why should it only be today? Shouldn't we give those same thanks each and every day?
The fact that it is Thanksgiving motivated me to read several Biblical passages related to thanks. While there are many, the one that really stood out to me this morning was Psalm 30. It is a great read and I highly recommend it. For these purposes, though, I will only quote the closing passages:
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)
Wherever you may be today and whatever you may be doing, I wish you peace and a happy Thanksgiving. Take the time to thank the Lord. Then develop it into a way of life. For me, I say "O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."