By: Rex Stump
When we search the historical documents and rewind back to 1621, we find America’s first autumn harvest feast between the colonists and the Wompanoag Indians.
Supposedly, it lasted for three full days in Plymouth Massachusetts, at the close of their first successful corn harvest.
It was a rough start for these Pilgrims and I’m sure they didn’t call that feast Thanksgiving. Between 1621 and 1863, American’s struggled as they settled into a new land with new laws, and yet striving for new freedoms.
It wasn’t until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Today, we live much differently than our forefathers, experiencing incredible conveniences and luxuries. So much has changed, including the celebration of Thanksgiving.
Today, Thanksgiving has become more of a day to feast on good food, watch football, and enjoy time off with family. There is nothing wrong with those things, especially when thanks are given to God.
But what should Thanksgiving really look like for a Christian? Henry Van Dyke said, “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
Basically, it’s a life transformation from the inside to the out! I can agree with that, especially as a Christian.
When we truly grasp the grace and mercy of God shown to us, and when we comprehend the forgiveness and act of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial life, our hearts should be changed. The gift of forgiveness and eternal life should leave us speechless and at the same time praising God.
It is God who satisfies, sustains, and saves. He provides food, shelter, family, friends, clothing, a job, and the strength I need for each of these things.
Thanksgiving is not a one-day Holiday, and it’s more than a short season between Halloween and Christmas. Thanksgiving is a lifestyle of godly person.
Daily we can praise God for who He is and what He has done. Weekly we can gather with other believers and praise God for who He is and what He has done.
We thank God for what He has done in us. We also thank God for what He is doing through the ministry of FCA! Thank you God for our faithful supporters, prayer warriors, and incredible volunteers!
As you celebrate the Holidays, take time every day to give God thanks! Let the Spirit of God transform your heart, creating a lifestyle of praise and giving thanks to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Rex Stump is the Area Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves as a Pastor at True North Church in Wauseon, Ohio.