Washington Evening Journal
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Parson to Person
Thanksgiving is more than a National Holiday! Those many years ago the Pilgrims did not sit around the fire and say, “I bet that future generations will make this day a National celebration!” They simply were giving thanks to God for getting them through the year.
James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote to disciples, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
We like to quote this Scripture to remind us of God’s goodness to us. This Scripture is preceded by an encouragement to endure trials and temptations.
James is encouraging the disciples to recognize trials can be those good and perfect gifts.
James assumes a couple of things here.
The first is that to truly be thankful we must first acknowledge God. Acknowledging God is more than an intellectual awareness; it is an encounter with Jesus Himself!
It is the difference between knowing about God and knowing Him intimately! It is the difference between obeying and trusting Him and being presumptuous.
Second, James assumes that the disciples are mature enough to recognize that this God we claim to know is the source of “good and perfect gifts” meant for us.
What James does not assume is that we get to decide what is good for us but God Himself!
Thirdly, James assumes that the disciples will respond to these gifts in a way that honors God by being thankful and appreciative.
What we are not thankful and appreciative for gets neglected and abused.
The Pilgrims celebrated by being thankful to the God they knew intimately and worshipped. Thanksgiving is more than a National holiday because it is a Christian celebration of thanksgiving!
The author of Hebrews reminds us that as New Testament disciples that we are to worship God by being thankful continually with our mouths!
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
This Thanksgiving I encourage us to do more than celebrate the secular holiday but to celebrate the Christian Holiday of Thanksgiving by coming to the table and sharing with those around us what Jesus has done for us this year!
Declare thanks to God the Father for sending Jesus His Son, declare thanks to Jesus for sending The Holy Spirit, declare thanks to the Spirit of God for His gifts!
Lord Jesus cause our hearts to soar with the worship of thanksgiving!