More than three hundred years ago, in the early fall in 1621, the first Thanksgiving Day was observed.
Governor Bradford, the governor of Massachusetts, issued a proclamation setting aside a day “For thanksgiving unto God for the plenteous harvest.” On the appointed day, after attending church and listening to a three-hour sermon, the colonists and friendly Indians came together for the Thanksgiving dinner.
What a wonderful time they had, with wild turkey, pumpkin pie and scores of other tempting foods. But with all their feastings and their merrymakings they did not forget to thank God for His blessings.
Today, more than three hundred years later, Christians can enter into the spirit of that first Thanksgiving Day.
What do Christians have to be thankful for? In the first place they are thankful because they know that they are sinners. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32. The truth about this matter is that everyone is a sinner and that no one will ever be saved except they recognize their wretched condition and cry “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13.
Christians are also thankful because they do not have to save themselves. If they were saved by their own efforts, they could never have any peace or assurance, because they would never know when they had done enough to save themselves. God makes it very plain in His Book that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,” Titus 3:5, and that “it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9.
Christians are also thankful for the blessings that their God showers upon them as He “daily loadeth us with benefits.” Psalm 68:19. He supplies every need and He makes “all things (whether of joy or sorrow) work together for good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28.
Christians are also thankful for the glorious future that awaits them for “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9.
Even if you are not a Christian you have much to be thankful for. All the temporal blessings that you enjoy come from God’s hand, for “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45.
Then, too, you ought to be thankful that you have been spared to hear God’s message of salvation. Although God hates your sin, He does love you and He “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Accept this gift, believe God’s Word, receive God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your personal Saviour and you will be able to say with all born again Christians: “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” II Corinthians 9:15.