Rejoice and Be thankful
The First Thanksgiving
This week we are celebrating Thanksgiving and we will continue our study through John next week. Most of us in America probably know the story of the first Thanksgiving, but I will do a brief summary for those who do not. The First Thanksgiving occurred this way, the pilgrims had just arrived in America and that year the winter was very harsh, it was so terrible that it was called the starving time. More than half of the pilgrims died. The reason was from lack of food, sickness, and from having to stay on the ship because they landed further north than where they wanted to settle and they arrived later than expected, so there was no time to build houses or grow crops. When the winter was over they met a group of Native Americans and among them was one who had learned english while being enslaved in England. He taught the pilgrims how to survive and thrive in their new land. So when they reaped the harvest they set a day/week in which they would give thanks to God for everything! They thanked and praised Him for all He had done and for bringing them through the winter. They decided to have a feast/celebration and invited the Native Americans to thank them for their help.
Thanksgiving Before the Pilgrims
What many may not realize is that the idea of giving thanks to God after the harvest, for all He did for them during that season of their lives is nothing new. In fact you could say this goes all the way back to the ark when Noah and his family left the ark they gave thanks to God by building an altar and thanking God for bringing them through the flood (Genesis 8). We see examples of giving thanks all throughout the Old Testament. This is something that God showed the Israelites to remember all He had done for them a long-long time before the pilgrims. In fact we see that the Israelites celebrated several different seasons of thanksgiving called feast and festivals. The one I think is most similar to thanksgiving is the feast of Tabernacles (feast of Booths) where the Israelites would thank Him for the harvest and to celebrated the end of the harvest, it was also to remember how God brought them through the wilderness( Leviticus 23:33-44). They would also live in booths (tents) to remember how their ancestors lived during that time.
Always Something to be Thankful for
Do you notice a pattern about the seasons of Thanksgiving to God throughout history? Most of them seem to be after a time of hardship, then at the end they give thanks and glory to God for bringing them through the hard seasons. They may also be celebrating/remembering the end of the season/harvest in which God provided for them. Wherever you find yourself in this season of your life there’s always something to be thankful for. Just like the Pilgrims, Noah, and the Israelites we should stop this week and every week to thank God for what He is doing for us and through us. We also need to thank others who make a difference in our lives. The Bible tells us “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 The will of God for your life is for you to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. What I want to encourage you to do this week is to rejoice, pray, and thank God, no matter what season of your life you are going through there’s so many things for us to be thankful for both to God and to others. Check out more Thanksgiving verses at https://www.openbible.info/topics/thanksgiving