On October 14, 1873, President Ulysses S. Grant penned the following words:
“I, therefore, recommend that on Thursday, the twenty seventh day of November next, the people meet in their respective place of worship to make their acknowledgements to Almighty God for His bounties and His protection, and to offer Him prayers for their continuance.”
The Bible does more than “talk turkey” about the subject of praise and thanksgiving. In Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, there are 305 references to “praise” and its equivalents plus 138 references to “thanks” and its equivalents. In the Old Testament the matter of expressing gratitude was so important that particular priests were assigned the sole task of leading the people in thanksgiving. Both the Old an New Testaments words for thanksgiving include the idea of active, positive, confession of love and appreciation to God expressed through worship. Thus, our thanksgivings are intended to be for more than a sumptuous meal preceded by a quickly uttered “thank you for the food” and followed by an afternoon of watching football.
Woven through Scripture is the close relationship between our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary and the believer’s offering of thanksgiving. Read and meditate on II Corinthians 4:15.
As we observe this thanksgiving season, let’s recommit our lives to a continuing expression of grateful praise to our God. The hymn writer put it this way:
“Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou does provide!
Thanks for times but now a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!”
I pray for all of us a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!