Lately, the following passage seems to be following me through nearly everything I do:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:4-7). I would like to say a few things about this word “Thanksgiving”. First, let’s break it apart. It’s a noun and means, obviously, the giving of thanks. But thanks for what and giving to whom?
In present day, this is the name of a holiday which has come to mean stuffing ourselves to the max, watching football and going out and trying to beat everyone else to the big bargains – pretty much the manifestation of gluttony, self and greed. This is the exact opposite of the meaning of the word itself. Thanksgiving is for giving, not self, greed or gluttony. What we are celebrating is our heritage as Americans. When the Pilgrims were going through very bad times, they were thankful for what they did have. When times finally became easier and food was more plentiful, they celebrated with a huge feast in honor of and to thank God for all He had given them.
We are to be giving thanks to the Lord for every single thing we have in our lives – good and bad. We need to be extra thankful for the good things in our lives and also thankful for being able to handle the bad things. (Rom 8:28)(Heb 13:20-21).
Friends, Thanksgiving is not a holiday that is celebrated ritualistically once a year. Thanksgiving is something that should be practiced and warmly felt in the heart and in the soul, fed by the spirit of God, and should be practiced every single day of the year.