…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
Four centuries ago (1620, to be precise) a group of serious-minded Christians left Plymouth for the ‘New World’ seeking religious freedom and to escape persecution in England.
After two months of battling Atlantic storms, the Pilgrims (as they were much later referred to) landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts – many miles north of where they had intended going. Their first winter saw more than half of them dead due to malnourishment, cold and disease.
Thankfully, some native Indians came to their aid and taught them to hunt forest animals and grow crops such as corn, squash, vegetables and wheat. They had a bumper crop that first summer of 1621 and, subsequently, set aside three days of thanksgiving to God for his blessings. Instead of being angry and bitter with God for a horrible sea crossing where most of them suffered terrible seasickness, and many died of cold and hunger, the survivors praised and thanked God for his love and providence. They echoed the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 92:1 ‘It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High…’
In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday. He called it a national day of ‘…Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens’ to be celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday in November.
Thanksgiving is a worthy celebration of God’s abundant material provision because it is important for us to show gratitude and be thankful to God. 1Thessolonians 5:18 tells us ‘…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ For Christians, however, every day is a day of thanksgiving – not only for our physical necessities, but also for God’s abundant grace in giving us his Son, Jesus, as our Saviour and King!
Thank you Father in heaven for blessing us abundantly in so many physical ways – but especially for giving us your precious Son who has made our redemption and salvation possible. In his name. Amen.
Study by John Magowan
About the writer:
John Magowan attends the Lisburn congregation of Grace Communion International, Northern Ireland.
Lisburn Grace Communion
Ballymacbrennan School House
129A Saintfield Road
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