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.

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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.

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