“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” ~ Psalm 107:1
Thanksgiving in America falls on the fourth Thursday of November which was set so by the former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
But it was not always the case because when Abraham Lincoln was president in 1863, he declared the last Thursday of November to be national Thanksgiving Day.
“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17
The origin of Thanksgiving
When the Pilgrims and Puritans left England in the early 17th century to come to America, they carried along the tradition of “Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving” to the US. When the English settlers arrived in Virginia in 1619, they celebrated a successful journey and the date of their arrival to Virginia was set in the calendar as a holy day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
The 1621 Plymouth feast was encouraged with a huge harvest that year and the Pilgrims were helped by the Native Americans with food during their hardship.
Thanksgiving declarations were made by church leaders in New England till 1682, and then by both state and church leaders. During the revolutionary period, politicians got involved with Thanksgiving proclamations as George Washington declared the first national thanksgiving day on November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
What the Bible says about Thanksgiving
The Bible commands us to give thanks. “Give Thanks” appears in the Bible over 128 times in 62 verses. In the majority of these verses, “Give thanks” is imperative. As believers, we are to actively give thanks to God for who He is and the great things He has done.
The command to give thanks is not based on our circumstances but on who God is. We are to thank God in anticipation of what He can do.”
“A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
A Thanksgiving Prayer
Thank You, Lord God, for this food we are about to eat. Thank You for the hands that have prepared it, for those sitting around the table who are here to share it, and for the ability to be here together under one roof, and enjoy these blessings at Your hand. We realize that everything we have comes from You and for that we are eternally grateful. We also thank You for what we don’t have this year, for we trust that You have withheld in Your goodness and out of Your protection for us. Thank You that Scripture says You are a Good Father who loves to give gifts to Your children. We sit here as evidence of Your goodness. Thank You for the gift of today and all who are here to share it with us. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.