Thanksgiving has provided us an opportunity to express our gratitude and thankfulness for food, family, friends, freedom, and, more recently, football. (But then no one in Massillon likes football, do they?) If you ask anyone, even any Christian what they are thankful for this time of year; they are likely to respond with things like: good health, steady income, a loving family and friends, etc. And such things are blessings, but is this what biblical thanksgiving is all about?
The biblical perspective in relation to the traditional American view of “thanksgiving” according to pastor/author Michael Youssef is this: “Biblical thanksgiving does not focus on our circumstances, but on the character of God. Circumstances change; God does not.”
The Bible does not discourage us from being thankful for material things. The psalms often praise God for deliverance, shelter, children, and life itself. The Psalms offer praise and thanksgiving for earthly things, but often end with “magnify the Lord with me” (Psalm 34:3).
If we only thanked God for good things and good times, what happens when things and times aren’t so good? Can we have thankful hearts when the previous year saw the loss of a job, the death of a spouse, a serious sickness, brokenness, and deep sorrow? This question is much more pressing, as many more people in our fallen world are suffering than are not.
Job states, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). So in loss of everything or gain, Job blesses God. How can Job have this attitude? Because He trusts in God’s unchanging character in his changing circumstances.
Paul, while in prison, tells his fellow Christians to “rejoice always” (Philippians 4:4) and to fill their prayers with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6) even though he himself had few earthly things for which to be thankful, except things like imprisonment, beatings, and persecution.
This Thanksgiving Day, and as we then quickly begin to prepare for the celebration of Christmas, which is God’s Greatest Gift—Jesus Christ; may we thank God for all the good things God provides, but no matter what, may we praise God for being—the unchanging “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us will all the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!
Rev Les Peine

Pastor Les’s Home #330-938-7704 Cell #330-284-6531