Written by Pamela K. Orgeron, M.A., Ed.S., BCCC, ACLC, Author
Psalm 106:1 (NKJV) —“Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) —“18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
What do you think about when you hear the word “thanksgiving”? Do you think about eating turkey and all the trimmings? Watching ballgames? Parades? Or do you think about the Thanksgiving holiday being a prelude to Christmas? Or merely a time to gather with family and friends? For most Americans all these events are a part of the Thanksgiving holiday. However, is that the real meaning behind the word “thanksgiving”?
What does the word “thanksgiving” mean? I would define thanksgiving as the act or expression of showing gratitude for one’s “blessings” in life. Though the American holiday Thanksgiving did not become a federal holiday until 1863, the practice of thanksgiving is rooted in the Bible. The Scriptures are clear that Christians are to praise God with thanksgiving in their hearts in all circumstances at all times (e.g.: Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 5:20).
In my definition of “thanksgiving”, the word “blessings” is intended to have a broad meaning, not just the commonly considered blessings below:
Often setbacks and disappointments, such as a flat tire or a lost job, are “blessings in disguise”. Among the Scriptures supporting this statement are:
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NKJV)—
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Hebrews 12:11 (NKJV)—”Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Not only should we show gratitude to God but to other persons around us. How do you show gratitude in your home? In our home we try to remember to express gratitude to each other, even for the little things, by saying, “thank you”. One of the principles we agreed upon before we married was that neither one of us would ever take the other for granted, but would always express appreciation to kindnesses shown by the other.
With the approach of Thanksgiving Day in the United States Thursday, November 26, 2020 on behalf of Milton and myself, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving with your families and other loved ones. In spite of COVID-19, political unrest, and the many other challenges of this year, we still have much to be grateful for. I know Milton and I thank God for our blessings everyday. How about you?