Thanksgiving: Not Just Dinner

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

Searching for understanding about thanksgiving, I find myself indulged in our annual Thanksgiving dinners at Nana’s house. Writing this article and I started thinking about all the different pies, cakes, and breads that we could eat after filling our bellies with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, and it still puts a smile on my face. In Caroline’s book titled, ¿Uncertainties? and Reasoning (Savage, 2011), she also ponders on the annual festival celebration. She stated that she would secretly pray for the hands that made prepared the feast.

Nana’s Little Helper

I can remember the times always wanting to help Nana in the kitchen however my little hands could, even though I was a male, and I loved being her taste tester. Our family did not believe or teach only women cooked, cleaned, or took care of the home.

We are all the same.

Caroline and I both were brought up with the understanding that we all came from God no matter differences of race, gender, nationality, etc.; everyone born on Earth had the same rights and privileges.

What is being Taught at Home and in Schools?

As Ambassadors for Christ we are to make Christian disciples of men and as a child I never knew or understood how thanksgiving related to God. In our public school system, they could not relate it to any type of religious background because of the diversity of students. We were taught about the pioneers and the American Indian thanksgiving feast and God was left out of the equation. Although my family is Christian, we did not regularly go to church, therefore, many of the morals, values, and ethics of Christianity had to be learned later in life. I did not want this cycle to continue with my children. Although I was out in the world, I wanted my children to be better. One thing that I was taught is about the foundation of anything is the most important. When my sons started school, it was not a public school; we sent them to a Christian Academy. I knew I was not mature enough to teach them about Jesus but a Christian based school is a great start. Although my middle son graduated from a public high school, he made a decision to return to His Christian teachings and enrolled in a Christian University. His decision to take that step made me very proud; my youngest son is still enrolled in a Christian elementary school.

Spiritual Maturity

After becoming a devout Christian, years after receiving salvation in my youth, I rededicated and consecrated myself to the Lord. It was only at this point, after I decided to give my heart completely to Jesus, that His Word and the secrets within started to be revealed. My wife and I were finally Disciples of Christ Jesus, and we have become Ambassadors for Christ to make more men His disciples. The Bible is God’s Will and Word for our lives, and if you have a question or problem, an Uncertainty, His Word can reveal the answer or resolution, the Reasoning. Once we receive the revelation of His Will for us, then we must act, and thank offerings, thanksgiving, is part of that action.

Psalm 50 / Mark 12

God will bless us in His time at His will and we must remember to thank Him with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is showing God that we are thankful for His grace and mercy, during good times and bad times. Psalm 50 informs us that God is our judge and He will testify against us. He will not condemn us for the sacrificial offerings and burnt offerings that are being done, but He has no need to eat the flesh of animals or drink their blood. The sacrifices God wants from us is thanksgiving. “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:14-15, NIV, 2011). Jesus said in the Book of Mark to the teachers of the law that the Greatest Commandment is to love God and your neighbor’s completely. The teacher of the law responded, ““Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices”” (Mark 12:32-33, NIV, 2011).

Fellowship Offering – Thanksgiving Dinner

In the book of Leviticus, it talks about giving thanks as a fellowship offering to show gratitude for God delivering us from an illness, trials and tribulations, or even death. “These are the regulations for the fellowship offering anyone may present to the Lord: If they offer it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering they are to offer thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil, and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in. Along with their fellowship offering of thanksgiving they are to present an offering with thick loaves of bread made with yeast. They are to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the Lord” (Leviticus 7:11-14, NIV, 2011). The Bible tells us how to be thankful, and how to fellowship, which now gives me the understanding of why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is Thanking and Loving God and our Neighbors

As Ambassadors for Christ, we now ensure God is included during our annual Thanksgiving feast. We ask that everyone say at least one thing they are thankful for that God has done in their lives over the past year. We recognize the less fortunate and deliver plates of thanksgiving to different members of the community; police officers, security guards, neighbors, etc. We invite not only family members to our home, but also church members and neighbors.

Give Thanks Daily

Although we get together once a year and give thanks on this day, this does not stop us from giving thanks daily. In our daily prayers we should continue to thank Him for all He has done for us. Even if we are going through hard times, we must continue to give Him thanks. Amen, Amen, and Amen!!!

References

Leviticus 7:11-14, NIV. (2011). Retrieved from Biblegateway.com: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=leviticus%207&version=NIV
Mark 12:32-33, NIV. (2011). Retrieved August 25, 2012, from BibleGateway.com: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2012:32-33&version=NIV
Psalm 50:14, KJV. (2011). Retrieved from Biblegateway.com: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%2050:14&version=KJV
Psalm 50:14-15, NIV. (2011). Retrieved from Biblegateway.com: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%2050:14&version=NIV
Savage, C. R. (2011). ¿Uncertainties? And Reasoning. Bloomington: AuthorHouse. Retrieved from http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000528853/Uncertainties-And-Reasoning.aspx

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