3 Reasons We Need Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a unique American holiday born from a Christian outlook. In 1621, the Plymouth Colonists (Pilgrims) who had come to America seeking religious freedom celebrated a successful corn harvest with the Wampanoag Indian tribe. It was Native Americans who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, and it was these colonists who taught the Native Americans about their faith in an Almighty God. These annual celebrations of thankfulness for the harvest continued for more than two hundred years until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln instituted a national Thanksgiving Day.
As I write these words, it’s exactly one week until Thanksgiving Day, 2016. The past 395 years have brought greater change than anyone could have imagined. The industrial age radically re-shaped the world we live in, with electric lights, cars, planes, blenders, and dishwashers. The information age is bringing even greater changes, with cell phones, laptops, the internet, and automated everything.
In the glow of an LED screen, celebrating a successful harvest can seem like nothing more than an antiquated remnant of simpler times, but the truth is that we desperately need this holiday. Here are three reasons why we need Thanksgiving Day more than ever.
1. Thankfulness is the cure for our unrestrained materialism. All of the changes of the past century have brought us increasingly cooler “toys,” and we do love our toys. But these toys are slowly capturing all of our affections, and turning our hearts away from the God who made the world we live in. With Black Friday madness creeping into Thursday evening, as more and more stores open earlier, we’re in danger of replacing gratitude with greed.
In Romans 1:20-21, the apostle Paul describes the danger of seeing all that God has made and failing to “honor Him as God or give thanks.” Ultimately, if we fail to give thanks we end up pursuing misguided passions, and our own selfish desires will ruin us.
2. Thanksgiving points to the One who provides all good things. As mainstream America continues its drift away from the Christian faith, Thanksgiving has the potential of taking us back to the source of our wealth. We need a reminder that God is daily providing for our needs and has richly blessed us.
To whom are you giving thanks?
3. For those who trust the Lord, Thanksgiving Day is an opportunity to worship. We serve a God who revealed His glory to us in the real, historical person, Jesus Christ. The teachings of Jesus provide the foundation for most of what is good in our society, His death on the cross secures the forgiveness of our sins, His resurrection demonstrates a victory over death that we too will experience, and when He ascended to heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to help and comfort and empower us along the way. We have so much to be thankful for!
This year, let’s not reduce Thanksgiving Day to turkey and football. Let’s make it a day to once again give thanks to an Almighty God.