18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP
This is the time of year everyone is supposed to sit back and reflect on their life to see what they are thankful for. The pilgrims, who celebrated this holiday for the first time, were thankful they had not starved to death. That was truly something to thank God for. But I ask myself this question: if they had died of starvation, would we even celebrate such a holiday? And looking at it from a present day perspective, who do those, who do not believe in God, thank?
Don’t share this with everyone, but those immigrants who celebrated the first Thanksgiving feast were devout Christians. If some anti-Christian groups out there knew that little tidbit of information, they would probably lobby Congress to drop the holiday altogether. Maybe they would go for a name change, like “A Big Feast with Turkey or Ham Day.” That wouldn’t be offensive would it? A nice and generic name so everyone would be happy, right? Wrong. The fact is that those immigrants had so much to thank God for. Their ships didn’t sink crossing the ocean. They had a new home where they could worship without a king telling them how to do it. The Indians didn’t kill them when they set foot on land. They survived hard times, and celebrated those times with a meal tradition that has lasted for generations.
What about today? There are literally millions of people here in the United States celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow who do not believe in God. Are they thankful to themselves? Do members of an unbelieving family gather around a table and thank each other for being part of their life? Do they thank their dog? Do they thank the federal government for making Thanksgiving a national holiday so they can have the day off? Why do people do such things? They do it because being thankful is something they do only once a year. They have no idea who to thank, so they just thank everybody they know who is close to them.
Christians are not supposed to act this way, but let’s face the facts: many times we do. Christians are supposed to be thankful to God in everything we do. It’s an every minute of the day, every day of the year thing. God keeps us protected and safe. He meets our every need. He forgives our every sin. He heals every physical and emotional pain we have. And best of all, He loves us even though we sometimes fail Him.
Sure, this is a time of year when Christians in our country, like those who do not believe in God, reflect on what we are thankful for. It’s good for you to publicly confess what you are thankful for to your friends and loved ones. It makes those around you feel special when they hear us say that we love them. It builds them up, and is truly a godly quality. An atheist probably wouldn’t admit that he had a godly quality when he expresses his thankfulness to others.
What am I thankful for? I am thankful that God loves me. I am thankful for salvation. I am thankful that I live in a nation where I have the religious freedom to worship. I am thankful that the Word of God, the Bible, is not an illegal, banned book where I live. I am thankful as I sit down to eat the meal with my family, I do not have to worry about an armed brigade crashing through my door because of Who I am thankful to.
I am thankful that He has blessed me with a beautiful, radiant, and loving wife named Marlo, who I have felt that I did not deserve on countless occasions. I am thankful to Him for four wonderful and vibrant children named Rudy, Ryley, Reagan, and Mathea. I am thankful to Him that Reagan’s birthday is tomorrow so he will stop asking everyone about his presents. I am thankful to Him for turkey, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. I am thankful to Him for a Thanksgiving Day afternoon nap. I am thankful to Him for leftovers that last for days. Yum! I am thankful to Him for everything.
What about you? It’s cliché for Christians this time of year to thank God, but do you thank Him every day? Do you thank Him no matter what your circumstance? Even when things look bleak in the world’s eyes, you should still thank Him. Times like that are when your faith can be shaken. A thanks giving to God is praise. He will see you through your trials. Don’t be like the atheist, who goes through Thanksgiving once a year, and has no idea Who to thank.