This is an audio version of the short article below.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

How simple and easy to understand is that? There is power in the act of thanksgiving. We need that now; Thanksgiving and power. 

Many of us live daily with some form of thanksgiving. To have a holiday that the nation has set aside for Thanksgiving is really important. Many families go around their table and everyone shares a word of thanks for things they are grateful for. I have a thought about that. That may be a beautiful and loved tradition in some families, but the truth is, if we do it before a meal, the food is getting cold and people may feel rushed or irritated. That is how humans are. 

Before the meal is not an ideal time for testimony. I think it is a more appropriate time to thank God from Whom all blessings flow, including a delicious, hot Thanksgiving dinner.

What a difficult year 2020 has been for nearly everyone. Think back to what we know about the first Thanksgiving in America. I recall this thought: The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  H. U. Westermayer

It was 400 years ago today,  the 21st of November 1620,  that the Mayflower landed on the Cape Cod coast of America. It was a year later – a very hard year later- that the first official or corporate Thanksgiving was celebrated. God’s goodness and provision was celebrated over 3 days despite the hard year just lived. Everyone celebrating would have suffered great loss. Historians differ somewhat about the details and dates, but seem to agree that an official time of Thanksgiving began in November 2021, 399 years ago.

Thanksgiving was ordained because the pilgrims recognized their need to offer thanksgiving unto God. Surely many of those gathered for the first Thanksgiving were mourning but in contemplation they realized God’s deliverance in those terrible days. The value of meditation is that it helps us to bring “things” into perspective. The first Thanksgiving was officially celebrated a year after arriving in America, after surviving ongoing loss.

The act of thanksgiving yields blessings from God. Wise men and women know the importance of expressing thankfulness. If there is a secret in making America great again, perhaps it is in becoming a thankful people again, acknowledging our dependence upon God. How important to keep gratitude to God as part of our lives, and surely on this day of Thanksgiving.

Let us not allow this important day of Thanksgiving to be swallowed up with the trappings of Christmas. I suggest a full out day of communicating our gratitude for the things we do have. Can we thank God for the trials of this past year? We must pause to consider the blessings; blessings are there for each of us although they may be shaded by loss. Why not personally dedicate Thanksgiving weekend to gratitude? Reach out to loved ones that are important in your life and tell them why. Call someone and share a memory. Call someone because you remember how they gave you a “leg up” or helped you in some other way. That practice has the potential to make Thanksgiving the most special time of year.

Perhaps during dessert, allow each person opportunity to share a story of something they are grateful for. I think we need this day.  Thanksgiving need not be exclusively a family day; the first one surely wasn’t. My ideal Thanksgiving is bringing together people that have an awareness of the need for gratitude and gladness for what we have been given. I love to be around people that can find the bright side of life’s circumstances. It is good to include someone that is suffering loss; aren’t we all? Despite our sorrows, we can remain a people of gratitude.