Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for all the things we're grateful for. We can look back into American history and give honor to the first settlers who made a union with the Natives. These natives generously taught them to harvest and technically to stay alive during those first brutal winters in the new world. That's what they were giving thanks to at that first feast and as Americans that's probably where our thoughts go when we imagine the history of the day. Once the harvest has been complete, it's customary to celebrate in most cultures with some type of a feast. It's actually a very common tradition in most religions as well.
One of the Hebrew traditions is to celebrate the feast of tabernacles also known as Sukkot. This was a feast where they thanked God for his provision during their 40 years in the wilderness. That's exactly what the pilgrims were doing. Giving thanks for the provisions which kept them alive.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” With this, he declared Thanksgiving a national Holiday that would be celebrated yearly from that time forward.
Abe's proclamation beseeches us to give thanks to God. Psalm 100:4 takes it a step further and invites us into his presence as we do so. We can give thanks that we have a God who desires intimacy with us. He prepares a feast for all of us who choose to come to him (Matt. 22:2-4).
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most Hebrews 4:16
I don't know about you, but this is something that I think I personally take for granted more often than I'd like to admit. The other day I went to a prayer meeting and was praying alone in the back of the church, when I found myself starting to doze off. I startled myself awake and the first thought that came to mind was Jesus's words. "Could you not wait with me even an hour?"(Mark 14:37)
My heart hurt bitterly over the thought of failing Jesus. I want nothing more than to please Him though I know I fail Him daily and am so unworthy of Him. But yet His words say, His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9). How great is our God. How worthy is He of our thanks and praise. Though we aren't worthy He calls us to Him and desires us to be in His presence.
I am so thankful this season that I serve a God who cares for me. Who provides for me but also who challenges me to be better. I recently read the book "Just Like Jesus" by Max Lucado. The entire book is based on the theme that God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you there. He wants you to be just like Jesus.
Let's give thanks to God. Let's give Him the only thing we can truly give.....Our praise, our worship and honor.