Every one who lives has something for which to be thankful. Gratitude is the joy of life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
— John 3:16-17, ESV.
In this world, some imagine “that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” (1 Timothy 6:5-6, ESV).
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
— Philippians 4:11-20, ESV.
May you have a blessed Thanksgiving in every circumstance. Thank you for visiting, and may God be with you always.
If we just consume & go shopping, and forget to be thankful, we will have missed the point of the holiday. A life cannot be good or happy unless it is lived in gratitude.
A blessed Thanksgiving to you.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV.
The pictures in this post are of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.
The Lord has blessed Americans so abundantly that we can afford to decorate the outside of a “palace” with food.
A healthy response for those who have been blessed with so much is gratitude and thankful charity.
Gratefulness is an important part of a healthy spirituality. Thankfulness is an indispensable part of a good life. Every year we appropriately celebrate Thanksgiving with food and feasting. The food is both blessing and symbol. It blesses directly, and symbolizes the many other abundant blessings of God.
The greatest gift God has given is not earthly food and life, but rather heavenly food and life. The greatest blessing is the forgiveness of sins. As Christians we confess in the Apostles Creed that we believe in “the forgiveness of sins.” This is not a potential forgiveness to be attained, but rather real forgiveness already attained by Christ for us. Every year and every day we rejoice that the Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world. (John 1:29). “It is finished.” (John 19:30).
Our cup overflows (Psalm 23:5), and in thankfulness we say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
“Be still, my soul; Your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.”
“Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.”
“Be still, my soul; the waves and wind still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”
Lord, thank You.
All the pictures were taken on the same day at Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin. The second photo shows the rising crescent moon and the setting sun over its eastern and western shores.
The verse is from the hymn “Be Still, My Soul,” Lutheran Service Book, 752:2.
In a good sense, Thanksgiving is about what we do: we give thanks. In a better sense, it is about what we have to be thankful for. All the living have something for which to be thankful. In the best sense, Thanksgiving is about the God who has given us every good thing.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17). So let us give thanks in everything and at all times. God gave us these gifts, and continues to give, not just so that we have, but so that we would be thankful. One of the best gifts God gives is a heart full of thanksgiving: a heart that recognizes its need and is grateful for every thing. And that is his goal: not just to give us good things, but to make us good things.
That is the Law & Gospel: that we so profoundly do not deserve what in Christ we so abundantly have. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Give thanks for true thanksgiving, forever.
To Thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise
In hymns of adoration,
To Thee bring sacrifice of praise
With shouts of exultation.
Bright robes of gold the fields adorn,
The hills with joy are ringing,
The valleys stand so thick with corn
That even they are singing.
And now, on this our festal day,
Thy bounteous hand confessing,
Upon Thine altar, Lord, we lay
The first fruits of Thy blessing.
By Thee the souls of men are fed
With gifts of grace supernal;
Thou who dost give us earthly bread,
Give us the Bread eternal.
We bear the burden of the day,
And often toil seems dreary;
But labor ends with sunset ray,
And rest comes for the weary.
May we, the angels reaping o’er,
Stand at the last accepted,
Christ’s golden sheaves forevermore,
To garners bright elected.
Oh, blessed is that land of God
Where saints abide forever,
Where golden fields spread fair and broad,
Where flows the crystal river.
The strains of all its holy throng
With ours today are blending;
Thrice blessed is that harvest song
Which never hath an ending.
— The Lutheran Hymnal, “To Thee, O Lord, Our Hearts We Raise,” 573.
In a March 1863 proclamation of a national day of fasting and prayer, President Abraham Lincoln said:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven . . . But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
In an October 1863 proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving, President Lincoln said:
It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gracious gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln delivered a two minute address at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg in a ceremony dedicating the battlefield as a National Cemetery. Eight thousand men had died during the three day battle in July 1863.
We have so much to be thankful for, especially because “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16.