It seems only right to talk about Thanksgiving Day, as we head into the month of November. As I looked over the internet to give a brief description of Thanksgiving Day, I ran across the following information, “Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks (to God) for the harvest and express gratitude in general. Here comes the real dilemma, “While it may have been religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.” It should be easy to see why it is primarily a secular holiday. We give thanks to all kinds of things, but who are we thanking? We thank our fathers and mothers for providing for all our needs and wants. We thank our grandparents for their hard work for providing for the family as a whole, without them we would not be here. We give thanks to friends and good neighbors that help us out. We give thanks to the farmers who supply food and to the business owners who supply jobs. We give thanks to iPads, computers, and toys for making our life more enjoyable. The list could go on and on about the way we give thanks to people and things. No wonder Thanksgiving has become such a great secular holiday…Thanksgiving is now all about “us” and what “we” do to deserve the thanks and praise of everyone else.

 

The problem with this egotistical use of “us” or “we” undoubtedly comes from not having a good understanding of the First Article of the Apostles Creed. This reads as follows:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean? I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.

He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.

He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.

All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. (What comes next is our part) For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true (Small Catechism).

Everything is a gift from God to us…everything! Therefore, our Thanksgiving Day celebrations and prayers should have less to do with us and more to do with God giving us His gifts to sustain this body and life. Even more so when we see that God’s ultimate gift is Jesus Christ, the Son of God himself who gives us the free gift of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life, how can we but thank and praise, serve and obey Him!   This gift is more precious than all the things of this world. When cast in the light of all that God has given us, how can we focus our thanksgivings upon “us” or “we?”

 

This Thanksgiving Day, (and everyday) take “us” and “we” out of the equation. Give glory to God for all His gifts, especially the gift of His Son, Jesus saying, “I give thanks to God for…” Give thanks like the Psalmists; “(Lord God) You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Psalm 30:11-12)

 

Pastor Mat

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