As we get ready for Thanksgiving this Thursday I was wondering the actual meaning of thanksgiving. The Oxford Dictionary says that it is “expression of gratitude, especially to God.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says a “public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness.” The biblical definition is to respond to God’s goodness and grace with gratitude. Abraham Lincoln issued the order for the first official Thanksgiving in 1863 and his purpose was to “commend to His (God’s) tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” If you read the whole proclamation he calls out the American people for forgetting God in the midst of everything. I knew there was a reason he was my favorite president.
As we go about our daily lives, thanksgiving to God can be something that easily goes by the wayside if we are not careful. We are called in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We are not called to be thankful FOR our circumstances but to be thankful IN our circumstances. Seek the good in the bad. As we go through these days leading up to Thanksgiving, may we find ways to celebrate before Thursday and continue to do so all year long. We have many things to be thankful for if we truly look. May your holiday be blessed and full of joy.