This coming week we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Some of us will be with family; and some will not given the increase threat of Covid 19. The virus is but one of the challenges of 2020 which has been full of disappointment and tragic events. I have heard many say they can’t wait until this year is over. But before this year is over, Thanksgiving comes around.
I looked up the history and found that the idea of giving thanks nationally goes back to the early days of our country. During our Revolution, days of thanks were proclaimed by the Continental Congress in honor of military victories. George Washington declared a day of thanksgiving after the Constitution was ratified. Other presidents called for similar days to give thanks until it was made a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in an effort to heal our nation after the Civil War. Of course we are all too familiar with the story of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 when the Pilgrims gave thanks to God even though half of their original group had died. Our country has a rich history of giving thanks in the midst of conflict and trials.
Even more, is our faith built on praise and thanksgiving. Giving thanks is a major theme in both the Old and New Testaments. The Bible gives the command to praise the Lord and be thankful more than any other. King David was known for his songs of praise. Paul and Silas while in chains in Philippi sang songs of praise to the Lord. In fact, Paul tells us in I Thessalonians to “Give thanks in everything; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Thanksgiving is a day when we come together and rise above our challenges and conflicts. We join those who have come before us and honor the Lord for who He is, for what He has done and for His faithfulness to all generations. In troubled times like ours, the Lord calls us to look beyond our present circumstances. He calls us to turn our eyes on Jesus; for when we do, in the words of an old praise song, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” It is in that light that we find so much for which to be thankful.