The first thanksgiving in America was celebrated in 1621 when the Pilgrims and Native Americans sat down together to partake of a feast. It’s a day that has been a celebrated since Abraham Lincoln in 1863 made it into a national holiday. Today, people are gathered around their table with a host of food that fills their belly, and a sentiment that fills their heart full of thanksgiving for their families, friends, and the privilege of living in a land of freedom.
American doesn’t have a Christian Thanksgiving Day, but if we did it would definitely have a different meaning altogether. Let’s take a look at what Christians are most thankful for, and all it entails.
Thankful For The Word of God
Christians are thankful for the Word of God. Thankful for all who sacrificed their lives that it was printed and translated for our benefit. Thankful for all who wrote it, and preached it, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4ff; Acts 4:19,15; 1 Pet 4:11 Christians love the Word of God for it gives them strength to endure the hardships and persecutions they must endure. Ps 103:20f; 2 Tim 2:3 It imparts to Christians the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding as they read and study it. Col 1:9,10f; 2 Tim 2:15; 1 Tim 4:13 The Word gives Christians a defense against the trickery of the devil, and this present evil world. Eph 6:11-18 It gives them solace and peace which passes all understanding. Philip 4:7,9f; Acts 10:36 Most of all, Christians are thankful for the Word of God, the gospel of our salvation because without it we would all be lost in our sins. Eph 1:13f; Jn 8:24
Thankful For God’s Unspeakable Gift
Christians are thankful for God’s gift of Jesus Christ, for by Jesus Christ we have the hope of eternal life. John 3:16ff; Tit 1:2; Tit 3:7 It was Christ who gave meaning to the Word of God. As Jesus gathered his 12 disciples around him to partake of the very first Lord’s Supper, all Christians are called together each Lord’s day to keep in remembrance of our Lord’s great sacrifice for us. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 11:24-26 Though God gave Christ to mankind, it was Christ’s obedience to God’s will, even unto death, that ultimately gave us salvation. Philip 2:8 Christ had to bear our sins all by himself by dying on the cruel cross of Calvary. Heb 1:3 Every Christian is saved by God’s grace, God’s unspeakable gift, through his unspeakable gospel, giving us unspeakable joy. Eph 2:8ff; 2 Cor 12:4; 1 Pet 1:8
Thankful For The Church
Now if God had only given to man his Word and Christ, mankind would still have been lost. Just as God gave the world his Word to Noah, without the ark all would have perished. Jesus as well built our ark of salvation, the church of Christ. Jesus built it, died for it, and paid for it with his own blood. Mt 16:18ff; Eph 5:25; Acts 20:28; All Christians are added to it, attend it, and are members of it, for the church is the bride of Christ. Acts 2:47ff; Heb 10:15; 1 Cor 12:27; 2 Cor 11:2 As Noah was saved by water, even so we are saved by baptism into one body, the church. 1 Pet 3:21f; 1 Cor 12:13
As Paul said, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body (the church); and be ye thankful.” Col 3:15
Conclusion: Christians have many things to be thankful for in this life, but even more in the life to come. 1 Tim 4:8 All Christians suffer greatly for the cause of Christ, but we are thankful even more knowing that we have a crown of life awaiting us if we remain faithful. 1 Pet 4:16f; Rev 2:10 Rejoice my brethren and shout for joy for our reward will be coming soon! Philip 4:4f; Ps 32:11 All Christians are looking for, and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord; 2 Pet 3:12 And the promise of living eternally in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the anchor of the soul of every Christian. Heb 6:18,19
As the psalmist David wrote, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Ps 100:4