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"In everything give thanks, for
this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus concerning you," (I Thes. 5:18).
A few weeks ago, while on vacation, my
family stopped at the former home of
President William Henry Harrison, which is known as the Berkeley Plantation. While this location has played an important roll both in the history of Virginia and of the United States as a whole, one event which took place there stood out in my mind. We walked to the back of the property, and down along the James River we found a marker commemorating that it was on this spot in 1619 that the first official Thanksgiving was observed in America. A group of settlers from England disembarked from their ship after a three month voyage, and gave thanks to God for His gracious provision to them.
We have come a long way in the past 375 years. We have more to be grateful for than any previous generation. Medical and technological advances make our lives longer and more pleasurable. New discoveries abound. And, of course, the grace and power of God is as available as it has ever been. Yet what has been the reaction of society? Paul knew; for he told Timothy that in the last days men would be "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud ... untruthful," (II Timothy 3:2). Man looks at all that he has and praises himself. He forgets that James wrote that "every good gift ... is from above, and cometh down from the Father" (James I:17). He forgets that the Psalmist wrote, "This is the day which the Lord hath made", (Psalm 118:24). Psalm 100 teaches "Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves." The teaching of Scripture is clear: man has nothing to boast of in himself. All that we have, and all that we are, comes directly from God.
We as believers must remember to be thankful. God has done so much for us that we cannot help but praise His name, and continually thank Him. The song writer put it this way:
Thanks to God for my Redeemer, Thanks for all Thou dost
Thanks for times now but a memory, Thanks for Jesus by
Thanks for pleasant, cheerful springtime, Thanks for
summer, winter, fall,
Thanks for tears by now forgotten, Thanks for peace
within my soul.
Thanks for prayers that thou hast answered, Thanks for what Thou dost deny,
Thanks for storms that I have weathered, Thanks for all Thou dost supply.
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure, Thanks for comfort in despair,
Thanks for grace that none can measure, Thanks for love beyond compare.
Thanks for roses by the wayside, Thanks for thorns their stems contain
Thanks for home, and thanks for fireside, Thanks for love, that sweet refrain.
Thanks for joy, and thanks for sorrow, Thanks for heavenly peace with Thee
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow, Thanks through all eternity.
May we make this day, and everyday, a continual festival of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord.