Special to The R-C
Thanksgiving Day is the oldest and most widely celebrated national holidays in the United States and Canada. It has its roots in historical Christian traditions dating back to 1611 when the Puritan pilgrims of Plymouth Rock set aside a special day to give thanks to God for their preservation, for giving an abundant harvest, and other blessings received in the past year.
The holiday and its traditions have changed considerably over time from its basic theme of people gatherings for the specific purpose of thanking God for His blessings. Now, for many, it’s just another day off from work to gather with family and friends with the focus mostly on food and football.
As we think about Thanksgiving 2024 it might be encouraging to remember the first verse of the 118th. Psalm which gives us good reasons to be thankful. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! for His mercy endures forever.”
Each verse in this Psalm recalls some Miraculous historical event. in the small nation of Israel and these historical events inspired the writing of this Psalm. From them we learn that praising God and offering thanksgiving is a significant part of Christian worship which is pleasing to God and demonstrates the gratefulness that is due Him
First, notice to whom we owe the debt of thanks. It is, “to the Lord.” Most people have enough conscience to be inwardly thankful for their blessings and the good things of life that they have enjoyed and, they express gratitude without hesitation. But ought we not be more specific and express our thanks to Lord, the fountain from which all these blessings flow?
And then, there is a second significant thought in this verse that pro-claims God’s Goodness, “For He is good.” Without controversy, the goodness of God is a major attribute of God’s divine nature, which is emphasized throughout the Bible. All things that are beautiful, desirable, or admirable to rational beings, God possesses in absolute perfection and pours them out in great abundance on all creation. We should be forever thankful that God is so very good!
A third reason for thanksgiving is His mercy, “For His Mercy endures forever.”
The Bible teaches that Mercy, like goodness, is also a major attribute of God and a most important one from the standpoint of the human need. God’s mercy is not only clearly exemplified in history but also in His promises for the future as well. It is a permanent aspect of God’s love who consistently exercises great pity and compassion toward men, that, because of rebellion and disobedience, estranged themselves from their original relationship with Him. We should be especially thankful for God’s mercy that conceived the plan of redemption which is, that by personal faith in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, our relationship with Him can be repaired and restored. The icing on the cake is that God’s mercy endures forever. This is what gives rise to our hope for the future. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness”. (Lam 3:22-23)
Gene Holman is pastor at Living Word Fellowship