The Season of Thankfulness

Barbara Embry, Pastoral Care
Citizens Baptist Medical Center

This holiday season is dear to me because there’s a sensitivity that comes along with it that makes my heart rejoice. We can go back to the history of Thanksgiving when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving together at the Plymouth Plantation.

In 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God and celebrated His bounty in the Harvest Home tradition with feasting and sport (recreation). To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude to the Lord God Almighty. Today’s national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions: the New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, based on ancient English harvest festivals; and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting. Today most of us lean toward the faithfulness and witnessing of the goodness of God for the benefits we have received.

To the Christian Believer thanksgiving comes every time we think of the goodness of our Lord Jesus.  There is never a time when we reflect on His goodness that our heart fail to overflow with thanksgiving.  1 Chronicles 16:8 NKJV encourages us to thank Him, call upon Him and let people know of His goodness - “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!”

Throughout the Bible we see encouragement to be thankful and to share the thanksgiving in our hearts. We are to share not only the good news of the Gospel, but also the testimonies life has afforded us.  These testimonies are the Living Word of God in action; He has manifested Himself to us even as He sits with The Father in heaven.  How much better would the world be if man would get to KNOW Jesus?  The only way to know Him is to be in a personal relationship with Him; some will never know Him because we may not have introduced Him (speak of His goodness).  

May I challenge us to talk about the goodness of Jesus?  Think of the times when your break through (deliverance) came when it didn’t seem possible.  Think of the ways God has shown Himself faithful to you.  How has He proven to you that He is there and hasn’t left you to your own devises?  Think of how He has calmed that raging inner man when it could have been to your detriment; He bridled your tongue and brought peace to the situation.  Think about the healings you receive from day to day in your body, your mind, and yes even in your spirit.  There is such a need for us to be sensitive to God’s presence in every moment of our lives.

I just spent an overnight stay in BWI airport last week; delayed flights, missed connections and the sorts.  God was concerned about how I felt; He wanted me to know He had not forgotten me, that He was with me.  The very last incoming flight had a person God had purposed to visit with me for a while.  She sat with me, reached into her bag and started giving me things she thought I might need.  Every snack she gave me were ones I eat on a regular basis, the toothpaste (my brand), everything whispered, "Barbara, Barbara, Barbara."  A night that could have been spent in dread, confusion, and despair was instead a time of intimacy with my Father, loving on Him and Him loving and reassuring me of His presence.  I believe His message to me was Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

Let us be thankful during this glorious season; let’s give away Jesus and articulate the love and thanksgiving that is within.  There’s someone waiting on you and me to make that lasting introduction through our testimony.  Let’s make sure they have a Happy Thanksgiving and the merriest of Christmases.  We commit to adhere to the suggestions of the Psalmist

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” (Psalm 50:14, NLT)

“Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him.” (*Psalm 95:2, NLT) 

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4, NLT) 

“Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about His glorious acts.” (Psalm 107:22, NLT) 

Prayer:  Father help us to be sensitive to Your presence and blessings that our thankful hearts would cause us to testify of your deeds.  Bless us that we might be a blessing to others; in Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.  

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