While many consider Thanksgiving a distinctively American holiday, it also is celebrated in Canada (on 13 October in 2003), as it should be because the initial occurrence happened before there was a United States or Canada.
The purpose of Thanksgiving should be the same today as it was 400 years ago. Whatever the re-writers of history want us to believe, people of different backgrounds joined to focus on something all have in common – the provision of daily needs.
Acts 17: 24-28 says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
God made us equal in regard to needing his provision in this life and the next. He doesn’t make any difference in providing for those needs, causing the sun to shine and sending rain on both the righteous and the wicked (Matthew 5: 45) and offering eternal life to everyone who will do what is right (John 3: 16; Acts 10: 34, 35). We should be thankful for that and even for the very breaths we take (Acts 17: 25).
One of the greatest blessings in creation we should be thankful for is the beauty and orderliness that demonstrate an intelligent designer (God, Romans 1: 19, 20) because that is what causes us realize there is a God and try to find him.
Neglecting the fact of God’s goodness leads to a foolish, futile, lackluster life (Romans 1: 21). This is why Christians are so often reminded about God’s love and that we should ever be thankful (Colossians 2: 7; 3: 15; 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18; Philippians 4: 4-9; Romans 7: 24, 25; 1 Corinthians 15: 57; Hebrews 12: 28; 2 Corinthians 2: 14). The New King James translation of Psalm 63: 3 says, “Your loving kindness is better than life. My lips shall praise you.” Second Corinthians 9: 15 describes what our understanding and attitude toward God should be. It simply says, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.”
If we even begin to realize the magnitude of what God has done and can do for us (Ephesians 3: 20, 21) we will avoid the life of folly described in 2 Timothy 3: 1-5, 9, which is centered around the word ‘ungrateful’ (NIV; NKJV says unthankful).
Another neat thing about God is that he is kind even to the ungrateful (Luke 6: 35). Although man purposefully neglected knowledge of God and began living in folly (Romans 1: 28-32), God still loves him – us. He continues to provide for our needs every day with the anticipation that we will wise up, turn back to him, and receive the greatest blessing he has already made available to us all. Romans 5: 8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” But you say, “Oh, I’ve been too bad, God could never forgive me for what I’ve done.”
You can’t claim credit for being the worst sinner. That distinction was assigned many years ago just to show you that God can and will save you, no matter what you’ve done (1 Timothy 1: 15-17), if you will only accept his terms. That is something for which to be thankful.
Show your appreciation to God during this holiday season and every day of your life. When I first typed the previous sentence, I accidentally left the ‘h’ out of the first word. That’s a good idea too! Sow (spread) your appreciation of God by telling others about his love for them as well. Every breath we take should be a reminder of that (Acts 17: 25).