Home > Questions and Answers > THANKSGIVING – What does it really mean?

THANKSGIVING – What does it really mean?

Many across our nation will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  If we can slow down before we are rushed into the commercial Christmas season, we still hear a few people say, “Happy Thanksgiving.”  Most of us know something about the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Indians and how both worked together to help one another to survive.  Some of us know about how the date of Thanksgiving was decided by each state on various dates up until about the time of Lincoln.  The first Thanksgiving celebrated on the same date by all states was in 1863 by presidential proclamation and later it became a national holiday.  Not until December 1941 was there federal legislation to make the fourth Thursday in November the official date for the celebration of Thanksgiving.  Digging into all the history can be very rich but it does not fully answer our question.

THANKSGIVING – What does it really mean?   First understand that one GIVES-THANKS for something, someone, circumstances, or situations.  We call these blessings.  So what does that mean?  If one GIVES-THANKS there must of necessity mean that there is a GIVER and a RECEIVER.  So many people say “Happy Thanksgiving” and do not realize the import of what they are saying.  In a new age tolerant world people say things without thinking of what they are saying – and people accept it since we should be tolerant.  They say “Happy Thanksgiving” like one shoots off the words “good luck.”  One cannot just arbitrarily say “Happy Thanksgiving” because once again the import has to do with a GIVER and a RECEIVER relationship.  This GIVER-RECEIVER relationship implies that in the end the Greater blesses a lesser.  Yes, God (the Greater) is the One who gives to the lesser (mankind).

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 107:1

The next time someone says “Happy Thanksgiving” ask that person who are they giving thanks to?  Expect deer in the headlights look, simply because no one ever stops to think.  For those who may be agnostic or atheistic, this question causes major problems, simply because one cannot arbitrarily say “Happy Thanksgiving” without having a meaning.  If this saying has no meaning to them and they just shoot this saying off in the air then in truth they are not really thankful, because once again the import has to do with a GIVER and a RECEIVER relationship, which implies that in the end the Greater blesses a lesser.  Yes, God (the Greater) is the One who gives to the lesser (mankind).  Technically, if one is atheistic in their belief system, then they should be consistent and not celebrate during this time of year, because it is set aside for acknowledging and thanking God for the blessings of life.

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalm 18:49

Thanksgiving : A full Thanksgiving dinner on a table set in cozy cabin

This brings us back to the first Thanksgiving.  These Pilgrims were thankful to the LORD God who providentially brought them through disease, famine, horrible weather, and many other troubles.  They recognized and celebrated that the Greater blessed and provided for the lesser.  This should be our desire and our motive in this and every Thanksgiving holiday.  Without doing so one becomes an unthankful glutton, better yet a fat leach feeding off the bounty of the land that God has given and becomes a sluggish zombie zoning out in front of the HDTV watching football games.  This should not be so!  Not that we can’t enjoy the food, our family, and some football, but stop and take the time to recognize and give thanks unto God for providing for us as individuals, as families, and as a nation for this is His will for us to do so!

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thess 5:18

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