This post is part of the series His Encouragement
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Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV
Today is November 1st, and as is my custom, I try to spend the entire month in a special spirit of thankfulness.
We should be grateful all year long, but it is not uncommon throughout the world and human history for people to recognize a time of special thankfulness, usually around harvest time. In Biblical times, two of the major feasts outlined in Scripture were specifically connected with harvest and showing gratitude to the Lord for His blessings.
The first was the Feast of Firstfruits. It took place at the beginning of the harvest, shortly after Passover. At this time, the people would give the first of the harvest (hence the name firstfruits) as well as an unblemished lamb as an offering to the Lord. See Leviticus 23:9-14. This special offering was a statement of gratitude and an act of trust in the Lord. If they were willing to give the first, they demonstrated that they trusted in the Lord to provide the rest of the harvest. It was also a way to curb greed and hoarding because it was a very real reminder that everything belongs to the Lord.
The other was the Feast of Weeks, though most Christians are more familiar with the name Pentecost. It took place seven weeks after the Feast of the Firstfruits when the grain harvest had ended. See Leviticus 23:15-22. One might say, this was a big harvest celebration. However, it was not like the celebrations we have today. Back then, individuals would bring an offering proportional to their individual harvests, and the priests would also make an offering on behalf of the entire nation. It was a time of humbling your heart before the Lord, showing thankfulness in His provision and care for His people, and sharing with those in need (Leviticus 23:22). No work was allowed that day, as it was a special Sabbath (or day of rest) to the Lord, and people would gather together to honor and worship the Lord.
Let’s be honest: the modern American Thanksgiving is built on mostly fictional tales. While a type of thanksgiving may have been observed off and on long before, the national holiday has its origins in 1863 with Abraham Lincoln, and it was declared a holiday by presidents afterward (though the day sometimes changed). Congress finally declared it an official holiday in 1941 and solidified its date as the fourth Thursday of November.
Over time this day of simple thankfulness has morphed into a day of family gatherings, excessive feasting, and football games. With Black Friday encroaching even on Thanksgiving Day itself now, commercialism and selfish has also attempted to usurp the very idea of being thankful. Instead of being a day to recognize our reliance on the Lord and being thankful (and content!) with what we have been given, it has been twisted into a day of excess, discontent, and selfishly trying to get more and more and more at the expense of others.
But I do not want to abandon the important practice of spending a special time each year in genuine gratitude to the Lord for all He has done for me.
Especially this year. This year has been tremendously hard for myself and my family. It is never easy to lose a loved one, but as today’s verse encourages, we — I — need to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
So all of November I will be intentional in contemplating and voicing my thankfulness to the Lord, and on a day that will work for us (it will most likely be on November 22 due to the fact it is a paid holiday for many Americans), I will be gathering with my family to celebrate the blessings the Lord has given to us even in the face of hardship and loss. I will also strive to share these blessings with others, especially those in need.All of November I will be intentional in contemplating and voicing my thankfulness to the Lord. What are you thankful for? Click To Tweet
What are you thankful for? How do you show your gratitude?
Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:
- Trisha of Joy of Reading
- Nicole of The Christian Fiction Girl
- Jessica of A Baker’s Perspective
- Becca of The Becca Files
- Jenny Lynn
- Gina of Stories by Gina
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His Encouragement: Bless His Name!