Reasons for Being Thankful

November 26, 2019

Reasons For Being Thankful

God tells us to be thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Again in Colossians 3:15 we read, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

There is no one in such dire circumstances who can’t, with a little thought, find some things to be thankful for. Granted, it’s much easier to be thankful if we aren’t burdened down with difficult circumstances, but even in those circumstances there are still reasons for being thankful.

The First Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims set an example for us when they celebrated the first Thanksgiving. The exact date when they celebrated the first Thanksgiving isn’t known, but we do know that it was either September, October, or November of 1621. The Mayflower landed at Cape Cod on November 11th of 1620. Perhaps the first Thanksgiving was near that date so they could celebrate the first anniversary of their residence on the shores of the American continent.

If they had wanted to, they could have found many things to lament about. Half of them didn’t survive the first winter. Many died of starvation or sicknesses. They suffered the cold of winter in impromptu shelters that they called their homes.

The native Americans had mercy on them and shared with them some of the food they had stored for the winter. They also taught them how to hunt and fish. During the summer months they taught them how to plant and cultivate corn. They enjoyed a plentiful harvest and looked forward to the second winter with an abundance of food. No doubt they had found time to build better homes to live in. They had made warmer clothes from deer skins.

That first Thanksgiving there were 50 pilgrims that gathered around the tables. They invited the Indians to join them in the celebration. There were 90 of them that participated. The feast lasted for three days. They gave thanks to God for his goodness to them. God had truly been good to them. They could have all died the previous winter. The Indians could have risen up against them and driven them out. Instead they came to their rescue. God had sent the rain and given them a bountiful harvest. It took them three days to think of all the reasons why they should be thankful.

It is heartbreaking to see how our three major holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are now little more than secular holidays. All three have a spiritual significance that has almost been completely forgotten.

When I was a boy we always celebrated Thanksgiving with a big meal. My parents often raised a few turkeys. When they did, one had to sacrifice his life in order to grace our table for Thanksgiving dinner. Some times relatives gathered around the table with us. Sometimes we gathered at their table. Sometimes it was just our family. I don’t remember ever hearing anyone say “We have a lot for which to thank God.” They never even said, “We have a lot for which to be thankful.”

Imagine the effort it took for the pilgrims to prepare for that first Thanksgiving. Some of the men had gone hunting for meat. They brought back turkeys and deer. The day before the first meal they butchered the turkeys and deer and cut the meat into portions to be put on the grills. If some wanted to make cornbread they had to shell the corn off the cobs and grind it with a mortar. Each morning of the three day celebration they started early. Fifteen or twenty fires had to be started and grills placed over them. There were fifty pilgrims present. That means there may have been 15 or 20 women who took the responsibility of cooking. They put the meat on the grills. Then they filled the kettles with water and vegetables and carried them to one of the fires. Some went back and forth feeding the fires. Others turned over the meat every so often. Some stirred the contents in the kettles. It was a lot of work, but they did it to thank God for his bounty.

Today, when women get ready to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, they don’t make near as many sacrifices. They go to the grocery store and fill a shopping cart with food already prepared. They may get a frozen turkey. All they have to do is thaw it out and put in the oven of a gas or electric stove. They may have bought frozen vegetables that they put in the microwave oven. They can buy pre-made frozen pies. One woman can prepare a meal for 10 or 15 people. Did I hear you say, “I can’t think of much for which to be thankful?” Please, put on your thinking cap!

Let’s make Thanksgiving time an occasion for praising the Lord. As you approach the clerk at the check out counter say to him or her, “I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. I sure have a lot to thank God for. I’m sure you do too. Most of all, I thank God for my salvation.” Let it be known that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful.

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