This past Thursday was, in my opinion, one of the great holidays that we celebrate as a nation- Thanksgiving Day! A number of reasons could be listed as to why this is a great holiday, depending on who does the listing. There are few holidays that command as much attention and respect as does this one. To a great extent, the busy pace of our society shifts down into low gear on Thanksgiving Day. Most businesses are closed, and most employees have the day off.
One reason it is so special is that, more so than most, this holiday draws families together. Most families try to be together, at least for awhile, on Thanksgiving day. At a time when families are self-destructing, it’s good to see something that serves to strengthen them.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of the Thanksgiving holiday, in my estimation, is its emphasis. The whole point of the day is to stop and remember that our blessings come from God and to purposefully thank Him for them. Probably, people make open statements of recognition of God, as the giver of our blessings, than at almost any other time during the year. Prayers of thanksgiving are said around tables that will hear no such prayers again for months to come.
People who have little spiritual emphasis in their daily lives think about the spiritual side of life for at least a few moments on Thanksgiving Day. It’s encouraging when something can motivate people to focus attention on God and on spiritual things. For this reason it’s rather surprising that Thanksgiving, as it is commonly emphasized in our country, has not come under more fervent attack by atheists and agnostics. Perhaps they realize how deeply meaningful this day is to the people of this land.
As Christians, we should be mindful of thanking God for His blessings on a daily basis (1 Thess. 5:18). We can even be thankful in circumstances that most people would not consider to be an occasion for giving thanks. It’s because we know where we’re going! We know that good can ultimately come out of what seem to be anything but good situations (Rom. 8:28). We should be a people that consistently exhibits to the world an attitude of thankfulness.
Let me suggest that we can also be thankful for this time of the year. Because people give more attention than usual to their spiritual lives during this time of the year, it provides an opportunity for us to reach out to them with the gospel message. In fact, certain individuals may be more approachable now than at any other time of the year. We don’t necessarily need to get all caught up in the reason for their being more reachable. We just need to take advantage of the opportunity to reach them with the truth that could lead them to salvation. Think about it, and see if there are not some people you know who might now be more receptive than normal.
To God go our thanks for all of His blessings in our lives, and may we always live our lives, using His blessings, in such a way as to bring Him glory...
Gary L. Hutchens