Thanks to God
The Encyclopedia Britannica article on Thanksgiving Day doesn’t focus so much on the Pilgrims and Indians but on how our national holiday became a holiday, which did not become an official holiday until the mid-19th century. Sarah Joseph Hale campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. On October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.” The article said, “The holiday was annually proclaimed by every president thereafter, and the date chosen, with few exceptions, was the last Thursday in November. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, attempted to extend the Christmas shopping season, which generally begins with the Thanksgiving holiday, and to boost the economy by moving the date back a week, to the third week in November. But not all states complied, and, after a joint resolution of Congress in 1941, Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November (which is not always the last Thursday) as Thanksgiving Day.” There was political wrangling and economic considerations around a day to be Thankful. You can legislate a day to set apart, but you can’t legislate a thankful heart.
God does legislate thanksgiving in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, where Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”Giving thanks is expressing gratitude for some favor, kindness, or mercy. It’s an acknowledgment or appreciation for the grace or good thing done. It’s God’s will for your life to be thankful. We should be thankful and express our gratitude to our fellow man. Thank those who prepared your meal. Thank those who work to put the food on the table. Thank each other for gifts, kindnesses, favors, and grace. But in this text, it’s not a general attitude of being thankful but to thank God for His blessings. Many will announce what they are thankful for without thinking about who they should be thankful to (Romans 1:21).
In the book of 1 Thessalonians, we see Paul was grateful for many things. His thanksgiving was directed to God. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4, Paul thanks God for the people, their salvation, their faith, works, patience, and hope in Christ. His gratitude is to God, who is the giver of spiritual gifts. In 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13, As Paul preached the Word, he thanked God “without ceasing” because they received it as God’s Word, not Paul’s, and the Word did its work and continues to do so. Then, in 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10, Paul’s words fail to rightly express or express enough of the gratitude and holy joy he feels for their walk and God’s work in their lives. Concluding where we started, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we see the pattern here of joy, thanksgiving, and prayer. In this life of faith, these three join hand in hand in our Christian walk. We rejoice, we are grateful, and we express that in thanksgiving to God “from whom all blessings flow” (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2).