Today is Thanksgiving.
Across America, friends and loved ones gather together to share a meal.
Just this morning, I received an email from a mentor of mine, Dr. Richard Land, reminding me of the important history of Thanksgiving.
The first national Thanksgiving celebration was held in 1777 just after our nation declared independence from Britain in 1776. The annual tradition we observe today has its roots in the Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation (worth reading) issued by George Washington in 1789. Washington’s proclamation called for a day of thanks to “that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks.”
In 1863, President Lincoln was the second president to declare a national day of Thanksgiving in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, where 50,000 Americans died in just three days. Having delivered his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln felt thankfulness would be a good next step for healing the warworn American people.
In 1941, as World War II was looming over our nation, Congress permanently established Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be observed on the fourth Thursday of November. As Americans, we have many reasons for the thankfulness we feel today.
What are you most thankful for today?
We can be thankful.
But why is thankfulness important? Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” Placing emphasis on thankfulness is not original to Americans. Thankfulness is a biblical concept affirmed by God for all generations and all nations. Being thankful reminds us to enjoy the important things in life.
Here are ten biblical reminders about thankfulness.
“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians. 5:20
1. We can be thankful always.
2. We can be thankful for everything.
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4
3. We can be thankful instead of talking foolishly.
4. We can be thankful instead of telling crude jokes.
“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
5. We can be thankful when we make our requests to Him.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 106:1
6. We can be thankful for God’s goodness.
7. We can be thankful that His love endures forever.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
8. We can be thankful in prayer.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song, I give thanks to Him.” Psalm 28:7
9. We can be thankful for God’s strength.
10. We can be thankful for God’s protection.