Joseph A. Bias
Thanksgiving– Secular or Sacred
Thanksgiving Day is a uniquely American holiday. Though, in recent years its origin, like so many events of our history, has been under siege by many to remove its uniquely Christian basis for celebration. The tradition began as a means of thanking God for His keeping and provisions supplied to the first pilgrims who by Hi hand survived their first harsh year in the new land.
Aided by the native peoples who lived here before they came. Theses first pilgrims understood that it was only by God's providence they were able to till the soil and plant seeds, grow crops, build homes, and establish communities of faith-believers to worship God free from the oppressions and dictates of a ruling class monarchy.
They left their homes and the comfort of their neighbors and friends, even in many cases their close and extended families, to seek by faith a place where they could worship God freely, and raise their children to know and love God and look to Him for their life, whatever the cost.
They left their world of friends and family but also of oppression, restriction, and religious suppression for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel.
To them, and to everyone who sacrifices anything in this life for Jesus Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s, it was promised by Jesus Himself, that they would receive 100 times as much of all these things now in this time with persecutions and in the world to come, eternal life.
"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." Mark 10:28-30
Though our world is far from perfect, our God is worthy of thanksgiving, honor, praise, and worship. Whatever the physical, political, or social condition in which we may find ourselves, we have this to sustains us. We are the people of God, called by His name, delivered from darkness into light and translated into the kingdom of Jesus Christ our Lord. The highest price of all things in all creation was paid for us, even the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins..." Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: Colossians 1:12-15
Now, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Him alone we are freely given all things to enjoy.
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32
In this we are grateful and ought always to give thanks to God.
"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19
There is also a direct relationship between generous and cheerful giving to God's kingdom purposes and the ministry of the saints that prompts a particular kind of ongoing thanksgiving to God that continues long after the giver has gone on. Those blessed by the gifts of God through men, offer up thanks to God for many years after the gift was given.
"Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:13