Why have people forgotten the purpose of Thanksgiving?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: It seems our nation has forgotten what the purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday is as we get caught up in meals, entertainment, and greed (Black Friday). I wonder if many people today even remember why America chose a holiday so tied to our early beginnings to celebrate our freedom and to honor God who gives it. – T.P.
A: Thanksgiving is a time set aside to help our nation focus on being thankful for all God has done for us. This holiday is a national acknowledgement of almighty God, reminding us that everything comes from His hand.
The Bible tells us to “devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2, NIV). But how often do we get busy and too distracted to remember the Lord? While we should be thankful every day, Thanksgiving is a day designated as a reminder to acknowledge His blessings and praise and glorify God for His bounty, for He is the Provider of life, joy, and salvation.
Repeatedly the Bible commands us to give thanks. The psalmist said, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1, NKJV).
When Jesus fed the multitudes, before He distributed the bread He had miraculously provided, He had given thanks (see Matthew 15:36). At the Last Supper with His disciples, before facing the horror of the cross, Jesus gave thanks (see Luke 22:17, 19).
It’s easy to be thankful when God blesses us with something good — a swift recovery from an illness, for example, or an advancement at work. But the Bible says we should “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
The Pilgrims knew nothing of the bountiful prosperity that so many enjoy now. But they expressed gratitude to God and shared what they had with others in need. May that spirit of Thanksgiving be present today.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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