The Purpose of Thanksgiving

A Time to Reflect

According to the Christian calendar, the year is coming to an abrupt end. A new year will soon begin as we enter the season of Advent. It is a very healthy practice to stop what we are doing in this time of transition and take stock of everything that has happened to us throughout the year. As we remember everything that has happened to us in the previous twelve months, we can begin to identify that which was good, and that which was not. We can then take steps to reduce what was bad and increase what was good in the year to come.

A Time to Appreciate What Was Received

We received much that is good this year, even if we do not always realize it. God wants us to recognize and enjoy what we received by God’s most generous hand. What did we receive from God’s amazing love toward us? We received life and everything within creation which supports our life. We received health, family, friends, food, clean water, clothing, homes, transportation and careers. Through life’s challenges and struggles, we received opportunities to grow stronger in character and prove our integrity toward God and one another. We received redemption and salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ and trust in what Jesus did for us on that old rugged cross. We received new and eternal life as we participate in Jesus’ resurrection. The record of our sins is wiped clean, we are free from the burden of guilt and shame, and we are free to live a new life of joy, hope and confidence before God and neighbor.

A Time to Appreciate

As you can see, we have much for which to be thankful this year. We believe, hope and trust in a good and generous God, who loves each one of us deeply and genuinely. As we reflect upon the gifts of the previous year, it is right and good for us to appreciate God and delight in what God has done for us. Praising and joyfully expressing our gratitude to our creator, redeemer and sustainer is a wonderful opportunity. God is bighearted and unsparing toward us. It is now time to be bighearted and unsparing in our devotion and praise of God. And that, my dearest friends, is what Thanksgiving is all about!