What does Thanksgiving have to do with those of us who aren’t American? (And what’s with turkey a month before Christmas anyway?)
‘Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States…’
Thank you Wikipedia – for that is the most clear and indisputable piece of information available online in a thorough Google trawl about the holiday. (The turkey bit remains unclear.) Friends American – who take it very seriously and also put marshmallows on their sweet potato bake – have their own versions of when, where and why the whole thing started and there are countless articles online suggesting various origins.
At the end of the day, the secret’s in the name. Having spent a number of Thanksgiving holidays in the USA, my overriding understanding of it is this:
It’s about thanksgiving. Giving thanks. It does what it says on the tin.
At the beautiful, beating heart of the holiday, it’s about remembering what we have and where it all came from.
There is something wonderful in dedicating a day to prioritising gratitude and loved ones. In specifically setting aside time to express, in words spoken aloud, that for which we are grateful.
And the way into the presence of the Father is thanksgiving: ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.’ (Psalm 100:4)
As an organisation that aims to serve people by following Jesus, more than anyone, we need to find ourselves in his presence. How will we follow him if we are not in awe of him? With our thanksgiving and praise we remind not him, but ourselves, who he is. Who we serve. How awesome he is.
There is power in our praise. There is purpose in carving out time to express our thanks to God for what he has done for us – from the manger to the cross and every other piece of personal provision since.
Whatever we do or don’t have, whether we fancy bean casserole and pumpkin pie or not (I do!) as Christians, we should take Thanksgiving seriously too.
We, at Tearfund, are grateful for you – yes, you reading this now. Created in his image. Beloved of our Heavenly Father. Beautifully crafted with a plan and a purpose from before the first day in time.
We give thanks for each praying and giving supporter who makes our work possible.
We praise God for his great favour and for every story of hope and life transformed that we are privileged to be a part of.
And we are thankful for every Tearfund partner and volunteer across the world who serves with such great love and compassion – and often with selfless courage.
Happy Thanksgiving! May you be blessed.
PRAY WITH US
Add your own words to the prayer to join us in giving thanks to God.
Thank you for… [insert your own words here].
I am so grateful for…[more of your own words here].
You are awesome, Father God.