Thanksgiving is a word that is mentioned 28 times in the Bible and 8 times in the book of Psalms. As you look at the many feasts that are celebrated by the Jewish nation, you find that the foundation of most of these is the expression of thanksgiving. In the Christian Era, this is also true of the religious holidays that we observe. This of course is especially true of Thanksgiving Day.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 100:3-5 (KJV) "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
These verses remind us of the appreciation our forefathers experienced when they celebrated their first Thanksgiving in Jamestown. They were thankful for God's care for them during their journey to the New World. They were also filled with gratitude for the Native American's help that taught them how to raise crops that were compatible to eastern Virginia. They also assisted the pilgrims with hunting skills. Our forefathers had much to be thankful for and we have no less need to lift our voices in thanksgiving to God for his loving care for us today.
God's message given to all humanity in Psalm 100, is instructive to all generations. He begins with the importance of knowing God. The word theology means, "the knowledge of God." We gain that through personal devotions and having a willingness to seek him through worship and other growth experiences. The Psalmist directs our attention to the importance of understanding our relationship with God being the shepherd and we, as his disciples, the sheep of his pasture. When we enter his gates, we are to do so with both praise and thanksgiving. We are also instructed to bless his name, rather than lightly taking his name in vain. We are informed that the Lord is good. We are taught in the New Testament that "God is the giver of every good and perfect gift." We are taught that his mercy is unending and that he is Truth and that truth endures forever.
During this Thanksgiving season, may we all pause and think about the theme of thanksgiving outlined in Psalm 100. This is far different than the quick switch from Halloween to the Christmas season by the commercial world. Being grateful for God's goodness that is directed toward us is still appropriate.