A UK Thanksgiving?
I was surprised to read recently that Thanksgiving, which I thought was a distinctly American holiday, is celebrated by one in six Britons, right down to the turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.
Hopefully, Britons and expat Americans will have better luck with the Thanksgiving bird than most Americans manage – white meat the texture of lumber, or dark meat that never seems to be quite cooked.
While Thanksgiving isn’t an official holiday in the UK, we pray that the celebration reflects its origins – when the Pilgrims, who fled England for the emptiness of the New World, gave thanks to God for a successful harvest.
As the days shorten and the weather cools, we can’t help but sense another year passing, another opportunity to offer thanksgiving to God.
That’s exactly as it should be.
In 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18, the apostle Paul summarizes the Christian’s obligation in 22 powerful words:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I’ve discovered over the years that the proper attitude is the most effective and essential element of a believer’s life.
Interestingly, psychologists say much the same thing. Hans Solye, who spent his career studying the connection between mind and body, said, “Gratitude produces more positive emotional energy than any other attitude in life.”
The words are different, but the point is the same one that Paul made: Rejoice. Pray constantly. Give thanks.
I believe we need to live with this spirit of Thanksgiving, not just on the holiday, but every day. We’re blessed to be a part of God’s family. Be grateful. Bless others. Thank God.
We read about this attitude of gratitude throughout the Bible. In fact, I would say that except for salvation itself, this is most consistent theme in God’s Word. As David said in the 34th Psalm: “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Give thanks for the salvation we don’t deserve, for another day to serve the Lord, for the gift of family and the untold blessings that pass our way.
But too often, we’re like the 10 lepers Jesus cured in Luke 17. Overjoyed at their healing, they rushed off to live their new lives. Only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks.
The same can happen those of us who have experienced God’s presence in our lives. We’re so eager to get on with life, even serving the Lord, that we don’t take stop and reflect.
So in this harvest season, and all through the year, pause and reflect and offer God your deepest thanks for His abundant blessings.