Q: I am in fifth grade, and I have to write a paper for class about Thanksgiving. Did people in Bible times have Thanksgiving, like we do? -- S.L.
A: Yes, people in the Bible did celebrate thanksgiving -- not just once a year (as we do), but several times throughout the year. Their purpose wasn't just to get together and enjoy a special meal, but to thank God for His blessings to them. The Bible says, "Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever" (Psalm 100:4-5).
In the Old Testament, the people celebrated several times of thanksgiving (usually called "feasts" or "festivals"). Three were especially important: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in early Spring, thanking God for their deliverance from slavery and for the beginning of the barley harvest; the Feast of Weeks in early Summer, thanking God for the beginning of the wheat harvest; and the Feast of Tabernacles in the Fall, thanking God for the end of the harvest season. God told them to "Be joyful at your festival. ... For the Lord your God will bless you" (Deuteronomy 16:14-15).
Although times have changed, as you and your family gather in a few days for Thanksgiving, may each of you -- like those ancient Israelites -- sincerely thank God for His blessings to you. Not only has He given you your family, He's also blessed you with many other good things -- far beyond what most people in our world will ever possess.
Most of all, God has blessed us by giving us His Son, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for our salvation. He is God's greatest gift! Have you responded by giving your life to Him?
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The Bible says, "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2017 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.