Summary: Being thankful is not a Biblical option-it is a command. As I look at my situation in life from the past, to the present to the future-I want to obey this command and I have reasons to so do.
HONES HISTORIC HOLIDAY
“Thanksgiving” is an unique American tradition. While we have celebrated this day for a long time, many other nations have not and desire not to emulate our very homegrown day of giving thanks to our God. While many other nations shy away from this happy and blessed holiday, there have been a few who have seen the value of it and have followed our example. Besides these facts, many Americans who are visiting or living in a foreign land often pause for this day to give thanks to God and if there are a great many Americans living in a specified area of a foreign nation, often the local area seems to comprehend just how important this day is for we Yanks.
However, in a day when it seems that giving thanks to God for anything is coming under scrutiny by the secularists of today’s world, I clearly wish to go on record and state that I am proud to be an American who wishes to honor this day. I wish to honor it by giving thanks to God for what He has done in my life and I wish to state that by keeping this tradition going, I want it always to be heartfelt and done without reservation or intimidation by anyone. I feel that the longer I continue to give thanks to God for what He has done for me it helps me to keep a thankful heart. A thankful heart makes the soul a merry soul and it helps to give thanks always-not just on one day. By living in a state of thankfulness, it helps hone the heart to continue to celebrate this historic day.
As I think about Thanksgiving, I read where I have a Biblical basis for being thankful. The Psalmist said that we are to come into God’s court-into His presence-with thanksgiving and I want to do just that for the rest of my life. Being thankful to God for what he means to me and for what He has done for me, helps me to be a better worshipper of Him and the more I am thankful, the easier it is to be thankful and to come into His presence-always-with a thankful heart.
By continuing this holiday, I find that my life, my soul, my heart are happy and I want to make everyday a thanksgiving day to my God. Then when this special holiday of “Thanksgiving” comes around, it is much easier to say thanks to God and mean it rather than just give lip service to this very special day.
As I prepare my sermon, I see three areas of thanksgiving which help me to really enjoy this day because I have prepared for it all year long. The first thing I wish to address is being thankful for my HERITAGE: the past has a lot to do with my present state of being. The next area of my sermon has to do with this present time in which I am living on this earth-between the past and that which is to come which I call my HIATUS. The last part of the sermon then looks forward to my HOPE of that which is to come and as I combine all of these together, I desire to be thankful for all of my life and when my life is over here, I want to come into the presence of my God with thanksgiving.
I. HERITAGE: As I survey my past, my heritage, there are some things that come to my mind which aids me in my giving thanks and for which I can enter into the presence of the Lord with a thankful heart. The first thing for which I give thanks from my past is centered around my Home.
My dad was a factory worker and my mother worked part time for a few years peeling tomatoes for a local canning company. I am the last of five children so one can tell very quickly that the amount of money being generated in our home when I was a lad was not very much. Yet, I did not know we were poor-I thought every one lived as we did. It was not until I went off to college did I realize that we were poor people. Yet, amidst the lack of funds for a lot of luxury, I was taught some very good lessons about going to church, living right, and being a Christian. Our church was the central point in our lives and I learned early that it pays to seek God. My parents always encouraged us children to accept and serve Christ; and, to mind, love, obey and fear God. I am glad and thankful for that rich HERITAGE I received growing up in my Home. Looking back over my life, I can honestly say that I was blest by my past and my parents. I am and always will be thankful for what I was taught when growing up in my family.