“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”
According to the online Canadian Encyclopedia “The first official, annual Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated on 6 November 1879, though Indigenous peoples in Canada have a history of celebrating the fall harvest that predates the arrival of European settlers. Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew are credited as the first Europeans to celebrate a Thanksgiving ceremony in North America, in 1578. They were followed by the inhabitants of New France under Samuel de Champlain in 1606. The celebration featuring the uniquely North American turkey, squash and pumpkin was introduced to Nova Scotia in the 1750s and became common across Canada by the 1870s. In 1957, Thanksgiving was proclaimed an annual event to occur on the second Monday of October.”
Scripturally, we find thanksgiving passages throughout the whole Bible. For example, in the Old Testament, the Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh's army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside times each year when the Israelites were to gather together to give thanks to God. One of these was the Harvest (Leviticus 23:15-21), when the Israelites made an offering at the beginning of harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.
In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid for our delivery with his own life.
Thanksgiving is more than a day or a prayer; it is a way of life. Here are ideas how to integrate it each day to your life:
- Reflecting on the past year, write on small pieces of paper things each member of your household or family is thankful for. Write one item only on each piece of paper. Fold each paper in 2 and place them all in a big Mason jar or in a box. At the beginning of each day for the coming year, draw one to remember what you can be joyful for and give thanks to God;
- For those of you who like to hold something in their hands, find a small rock that feels comfortable holding in your hands, paint a sign or a word on it if you wish, keep it close to where you normally pray and pick it up each time you pray. This rock will remind you to give thanks to God even on days that are more difficult;
- If you are a creative person or like to do manual work, remember each time you create that these gifts you have, have been given to you by God and give thanks for them while working;
- If you tend to forget to pray because life is too busy, set your watch or smart phone to ring at set times twice or three times each day. When it rings, take a few seconds to thank God for what you are doing or what is happening at that moment in your day.
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration and may God bless you and your loved ones with moments of joy and grace each day of the coming year.