Summary: To be thankful for all things
It is interesting to note that it wasn’t until we were at war, the Civil War to be exact, that our Thanksgiving holiday was officially recognized by Congress. It had started in the small Plymouth Colony in 1621 when the English Pilgrims feasted with members of the Indians who brought gifts of food as a gesture of goodwill. The custom grew in various colonies as a means of celebrating the harvest. In 1777, over 100 years later, the continental congress proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving after the American Revolution victory at the Battle of Saratoga. But it was twelve years later that George Washington proclaimed another national day of thanksgiving in honor of the ratification of the Constitution and requested that the congress finally make it an annual event. They declined and it would be another 100 years and the end of a bloody civil war before President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving. The year was 1865. It might surprise you to learn that it took still another 40 years, the early 1900’s, before the tradition really caught on. For you see Lincoln’s official Thanksgiving was sanctioned in order to bolster the Union’s morale. Many Southerners saw the new holiday as an attempt to impose Northern customs on their conquered land. Thanksgiving today is a mild-mannered holiday full of football, hot apple pie, and family reunions. But that’s not a realistic historical picture of Thanksgiving. It is more often born of adversity and difficult times. So many of the greatest expressions of thanksgiving have occurred under circumstances so debilitating one wonders why people give thanks. It would seem the more reasonable response would be bitterness and ingratitude.
WHAT WE HAVE TO BE THANKFUL FOR
1. WE NEED TO GIVE THANKS THAT WE HAVE A SAVIOR.
a. He is One with the Father who is the creator of all things. JN10: 30 “I and the Father are one." 8:28 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” 17:21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
b. He finished the work He came to do. JN 4:34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 5:36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. JN 19:30 “he said, It is finished:”
c. He has saving power. JN 6:37 “However, those the Father has given me will come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” ACTS 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." RM 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: TIT 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. HB 5:9 once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
2. WE NEED TO GIVE THANKS FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT.
a. His power is to convict us of our sin that we might seek forgiveness and right living. JN 16:8-11 “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. In regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
b. That He leads us. RM 8:14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Gal 5: 16 So I say live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature? They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
c. He produces fruit in us. GAL 5:22-23 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. EPH 4: 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 5:9 for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth 10and find out what pleases the Lord. Col 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever complaints you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.