Thanksgiving Day is not an appointed church holiday but a national celebration. Nevertheless, the church celebrates it for good reason. Surely, when we consider the blessings from our Heavenly Father from whom comes every good and perfect gift, we have reason to say every day: “Praise the Lord. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1).
Yes, there is much happening in this nation that prompts the question. As Christians we are not unaffected by the economic, political, moral, and cultural deterioration. Christians too suffer personal afflictions. On top of all, we are appalled at the terrorism that has the nations of the world on edge.
And we should celebrate
a festival of Thanksgiving?
Yes! The Lord continues to be at our side. He has strengthened us. He has provided for us in remembrance of His mercy. “’For a mere moment I have forsaken you; but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer. For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no more go cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you”
The Triune God (and He alone) lives to hear our prayers. As the Giver of every good and perfect gift, He delights in our expressions of thanks. Every other god is an idol that neither hears nor answers prayers. (Have you ever asked yourself, “To whom do they give thanks who pray to a god that does not exist?”)
The gospel of our Savior Jesus is the greatest reason we Christians give thanks every day. The gospel gives hope in what is otherwise a hopeless world.
We do know that so long as the world stands, sin will be with us. Even if our stomachs are satisfied on this Thanksgiving Day, the shadow of what is happening in the nation and world will still be there, and the concerns for the future will not vanish away. So we pray that our thanksgiving will have deeper roots than simply a national excuse to satisfy desire for food and companionship. The Father in heaven is not unaware of our needs, and He is well aware of our anxieties. Here we have toil and tribulation, but the Lord tells us in Hebrews (4:9) that there remains a rest for the people of God.
Remember also that the living God and Father is greater than our tribulations and anxieties: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).
Our God will keep His believing children unto everlasting life. In the meantime, appreciate the material blessings that He provides in measure according to His will. Whatever the future holds and until He takes us home, let us be “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever” (Psalm 117:1-2). Amen!