Give thanks with a grateful heart

Published 1:57 pm Friday, November 19, 2010

Soon most families will be sitting down to enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Families will travel near and far to visit family and friends to enjoy fellowshipping and eating plenty of delicious foods.

A lot of turkey will be eaten with all the trimmings and other foods such as pumpkin pies, sweet potato pies and all kinds of good food to eat. This will be a joyous occasion for most of us to celebrate the day we call Thanksgiving.

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Do we understand the true meaning of that day and why it is celebrated?

Thanksgiving is the act of giving thanks, prayer, expressing gratitude and giving thanks for divine goodness.

The holiday Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival now celebrated around the world. It is a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships.

Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. It is commonly believed that the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621, at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts.

Since that time, we can see how the Lord has continued to bless us. That is why we must remember that there is a God who is sovereign and knows all things.

Before we eat that traditional dinner, we need to tell God “thank you.” We need to thank him for life, health and strength.

Also, thank him for watching over us all night while we slept and kept us from hurt, harm and danger.

God is better to us than we are to ourselves. He loves us so much that He gave his only begotten Son. He was still concerned about us because he sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to keep and guide us.

Do we even take time to thank Him for that?

The Bible says the act of thanksgiving is a natural element of Christian worship.

In first Corinthians Chapter 14, verses 16 and 17, it tells us that sacrificing and offerings were to be made not grudgingly, but with thanksgiving in our hearts. Thanksgiving was essential to Old Testament worship, (Psalm 35:18). Thankfulness was expressed for personal deliverance. First Thessalonians Chapter 5 verse 18 tells us how to give thanks in everything.

We need to be reminded that if God gives a chance to see another day, we should be thankful. God is a jealous God and does not want us to have any other gods before him. He has blessed us with so much and we give him so little in return.

We could never repay him for what he has done for us, but we can purpose in our hearts to do better every day. It starts with giving him some of our time by taking time from our busy schedules to pray, read his Word, the Bible, and let our lights shine. In doing this, we will be able to feel the hurt of those who are without. We will begin to realize how blessed we are and will be more thankful.

As we prepare to enjoy this Thanksgiving celebration, keep in mind that there are some who do not know where their next meal is coming from. There are others who are faced with other problems. So when we have the opportunity to share, we should do it gladly.

Hundreds of years ago, people gave thanks to God for his many blessings. Today, we need to remember that He is the same God blessing us, watching over us, taking care of us and making it possible for us to have food on our tables. He is still with us today and we need to give him all the praise, honor and glory. We should give thanks with a grateful heart this Thanksgiving and every day!

Prayer—”God we thank you for providing for us and blessing each of us every day. So help us to be a blessing to others so they might see You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

The Rev. Adren Bivins Sr., a clergy, is the founder of Laymen Brotherhood Second Chance Outreach Center Inc., a non-profit Bainbridge organization. He can be reached by calling (229) 465-3752 or 416-0476.