Canada’s yearly day of Thanksgiving is again upon us. Historically the holiday was only formalized in 1957, declared to be celebrated on the second Monday of October. In the 1920’s it was temporarily celebrated in connection with Remembrance Day in November, expressing thankfulness for peace. Its origins go back as far as early European explorers who probed the northern part of our continent, thankful for safety during the risks they took. Later during the American revolution, United Empire Loyalists brought us the customs of pumpkins, squash, and turkey.
Biblically there is no command for Christians to celebrate a religious feast of thanksgiving, so we don’t practice it as a church. But nobody can deny it is a good thing to do privately and as families. It’s interesting to read of the great Jewish feasts of the Old Testament, such as Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Booths (harvest) – all times of national thanksgiving for God’s blessings. These Old Testament practices don’t direct us to do the same in the New Testament age, but they teach us the importance of being thankful.
Paul urged the Colossian Christians to be “overflowing with gratitude.” (Col.2:7). When we sing together we are “singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (3:16). Even prayer is to be offered “with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (4:2). These are things we do every Sunday, every week, and some of them every day. Thankfulness keeps us connected with God’s goodness, and reminds us that everything depends upon Him. Do that this weekend, and every day afterward.
– Tim Johnson