Everyday, before she went to bed, Kara prayed to the Lord, but her prayer was not what you may expect. She did not ask for help for her problems or for alleviation from her suffering - she did that in her morning devotions. Instead Kara took this time to thank God and praise Him. She thanked Him for the blessings she had received that day, for the situations in which she had seen His hand working, for the amazing beauty of His work. Some days it was more difficult than others to find something for which to be thankful. On the days she really struggled, she began by thanking God for sending His Son to earth to die, so that she could be saved. And you know what? That usually led to something else for which to be thankful. For Kara, everyday was Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving - to give thanks, to gratefully acknowledge what has been given to you, especially by God.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7, ESV)
Kara understood that Thanksgiving should not be a single day a year, but a way of life! Thanksgiving did not begin with the pilgrims celebrating a successful harvest, but long before.
Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, the Israelites had their own celebrations of thanksgiving. The Passover Feast was a celebration of thanks, thanks that they had been passed over by the angel of death and delivered from the land of Egypt (Leviticus 23:4-8). The Firstfruits and Feast of Weeks were celebrations of thanks for the harvest (Leviticus 23:9-22). When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:10, NIV)
Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, Jesus was giving thanks. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. (John 6:11, NIV) After taking the cup, [Jesus] gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.” (Luke 22:17, NIV) And [Jesus] took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19, NIV) Jesus, many times over, demonstrated by example, that we are to earnestly give thanks to God our Father before every meal.
Long before the pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving, the apostles were teaching thanksgiving as a way of life. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17, ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV) … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6, ESV) Following the example of Christ, the apostles taught that for Christians, everyday was to be a day of thanksgiving.
How have you been blessed by the Lord this past year? For those who have received Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, everyday should be a day of thanksgiving. You can, however, make the fourth Thursday of November a special day of Thanksgiving. It is a time in which your family can abound in thanksgiving together. So turn off the television! Ignore the lure of great bargains which will be there in the days that follow. Focus on your family. How have they been blessed by the Lord this past year? How have you been blessed by the Lord? Have you thanked the Lord?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!