Thanksgiving perspective.

When I think about why we have Thanksgiving in the U.S.A., It touches my heart.  We’ve all heard the story when we were in grade school of how the pilgrims and the natives sat down to have a meal together.  Maybe you were one of the children whose school put on a Thanksgiving play.  I personally remember making hats out of construction paper.  Some kids made pilgrim hats while others made Indian head-dresses.  I think I had a head-dress.  The truth is though, that there’s much more to it than that.  That Thanksgiving was a celebration of survival and the Europeans would not have made it through that first winter without the help of the native Americans.


We know from history that the Pilgrims left England and moved to Holland to flee the persecution that was coming from the Church of England.  The writings of some of the pilgrims indicate that they decided to leave Holland to come to the new world because of what they called “the hardness” of Holland and what some called the “great licentiousness” of the youth there. For whatever reason they came, their coming was a mile marker of something huge – look how far we’ve come!

True thanksgiving is something that is done on a more personal level.  Thanksgiving is of the heart.  The word for thanksgiving in the New Testament is the word Eucharistia (Strongs G2169).  It literally means Grateful, gratitude language – giving of thanks.  In the Old Testament the word for Thanksgiving is  Todaw  (Strongs H8426).  It means to avow. Adoration, signified with an extension of the hand.  Literally, lifting hands with thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:4 says Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.  The BBE says Be glad in the Lord at all times: and again I say be glad!.  Paul goes on to talk to the us about what we should do when things challenge our reasons for rejoicing.  In verse 6 he says “Care for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, praiseworthy, think on these things.

If we are all being honest, Thanksgiving is not our default setting. Selfishness is.  It seems that all we have to do to be selfish is let our feet hit the floor every morning.  Being anything else takes intention.  That’s why it’s important to have a daily devotion routine.  It brings your mind back to the truth.

When I miss my times with the Lord for very long, I start to have a sense of entitlement.  I begin to get angry with people around me because they are not doing for me, what I think they should.  I find that I think about myself far more, and about others far less.

When I take time with my Heavenly Father and His Word, It brings things back into perspective.  I remember that what I deserve is far worse than what I have received.  In fact, I try to remind myself often that what I deserve is to be lit on fire for all eternity. Real fire, real torment.  That will never happen to me because of the blood of Jesus.  And because of that, I can be very thankful every day.  With great humility, I acknowledge that, no matter how difficult things are in my job, in ministry, with my family, with my bills, or any other thing, It can be fixed, It will change, and I am grateful for every good thing I have received.

I never want to lose sight of this truth.  Thanksgiving doesn’t have to come from feelings. It’s a choice.  Today and everyday, I am thankful.

A Heart Of Thanksgiving.

When I was a little boy, we used to celebrate Thanksgiving in style. I remember my family would rent the second floor meeting room at city hall in the town where my grandparents lived. All of my family from my Great Grandmother down would show up for a really big family feast. Because of this I grew up knowing my second & third cousins. My Great Grandmother had 12 children & my Grandmother had 9 children. You can begin to see why we needed such a large venue for our Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin with leaf in grass resized

photo courtesy of

These times were truly wonderful. We ate together, played together and fellowshipped together. Thinking back, I miss those times. Most of us have lost touch and sometimes I wonder where all those second & third cousins are today.

To me Thanksgiving means family. I am truly thankful for my family. I realize that I am not standing where I am today by myself. I am here because of the wisdom, guidance & example of my elders and the influence of my relation.

Edward Winslow’s 1621 account of the first Thanksgiving indicates that 53 Pilgrims celebrated with 90 Native Americans in an event that lasted three days. Many Pilgrims died during the voyage and during the first winter. The surviving Pilgrims expressed their gratefulness to God that He had preserved them and that, with the help of the Native Americans, they were able to see and enjoy the first harvest.

While in the past Thanksgiving has been a time for families to stop, take note of the bounty and blessing that they enjoy, and be truly thankful, now it seems like “Black Friday” has over-shadowed the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Many stores this year will open on Thankgiving night. It almost seems to me that the date that we’ve set aside for thanksgiving has been usurped by a secular day based on covetousness and greed.

I know people who make it a fun family time to go stand in line for door buster deals and I am not trying to lay guilt on anyone. I just want to encourage you this year to keep your Thanksgiving celebration set apart and meaningful.

True thankgiving represents a true heart of humility toward God and a grateful acknowledgement of His blessing.

This year take the time, examine your heart, be truly thankful…and celebrate.

Happy Thanksgiving & God bless you!

Art & Family.