The What, Why, Who and When Of Thanksgiving
Today is possibly the only time of the year that some people feel thankful.
Some people may not even bother to celebrate thanksgiving day because they believe they have no reason to be thankful.
If you feel that life has treated you terribly hence you cannot feel grateful because of the hard times, I want you to take a few minutes to interrogate thanksgiving with some questions.
What is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is defined by dictionary.com as the act of giving thanks. It is gratefully acknowledging benefits or favors, especially to God.
The official Thanksgiving holiday began in the USA in 1863. Most countries do not celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday, but many people will observe it as a day to say thank you to their employees, families, and friends.
Why do we need to give thanks?
The first answer that comes to my mind is life. If you are reading this right now you need to pause for a while and be thankful that you are alive. Many people have died prematurely without fulfilling their destiny.
If you are not bedridden or admitted to the hospital, you need to give thanks for health. If you are receiving treatment for health issues you can give thanks for the doctors and medical team, for scientists and researchers.
If you have been through a category five hurricane as I have, or any other categories of hurricane, you will learn to appreciate the plants, flowers, water, sunlight, electricity and other modern conveniences that we often take for granted.
Gratitude should be a lifestyle because every aspect of our lives was given or provided to us by someone.
Research studies have shown that expressing gratitude to others can positively affect the brain.
One particular study conducted by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley suggests that gratitude improved the mental health of patients who undergo both counseling session and writing gratitude letters to individuals.
The researchers also found that the group who constantly thank people for blessing their lives and think positively overall will experience less toxic emotions such as bitterness, resentment, and envy. They are also more sensitive to give to a charitable cause.
There are also other physical health benefits associated with gratitude such as reduced stress leading to lower blood pressure and heart disease.
Overall, giving thanks can improve your personality and your relationship with others. Read more on the benefits of gratitude at Positive Psychological Program.
Spiritual benefits of gratitude.
Giving God thanks will develop your relationship with God and your fellowmen. When you have a grateful heart you will grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Who should we thank?
Gratitude is your physical expression of giving thanks. You can give thanks in words or deeds as long as you ensure that you are sincere.
Saying thank you because you want to be polite or because someone coerces you into doing it will not benefit you psychologically.
Since childhood, most of us have been trained to say thank you to our parents, teachers or anyone who gives us a gift or does something good for us.
We were not trained to say thank you when we do not receive anything.
Many of us can remember our childhood prayer thanking God for the food and clothes that He provided and for blessing us with our parents.
As we grow older many of us depart from these childhood practices. However, it is important that we show gratitude to anyone who impacts our lives and most importantly to God, our Creator.
When do we need to give thanks?
We were trained to give thanks when we receive good things. But, in everything we need to give thanks because that is the will of the Lord for us (1Thessalonians 5:16-18; Colossians 4:2).
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
As difficult as it sounds, we should also give thanks in trials. Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God after they were beaten and then locked in stocks inside the prison.
Their praises to God rang so loud that God caused a great earthquake to shake the foundation of the prison, breaking their bonds and releasing them.
We also need to give thanks every time we enter the presence of God.
We should not approach God begging like a beggar. We cannot approach the queen or President of a country in any manner. There is a strict protocol that we have to follow.
This should be the same with God our Great King. The protocol that the Lord requires is simply to give Him thanks when we approach Him in prayer or worship.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. (Psalms 95:1-3)
God is majestic in supremacy and power and we need to show deep reverence and respect to Him (Psalms 95:2; Psalms 100).
Thanksgiving is a sacrifice to God (Psalms 107:22; 116:17; Amos 4:5; Jonah 2:9).
Therefore, even if you do not feel like it, whisper a silent prayer of thanksgiving and watch as things begin to change in your life for the better.
Thank you, Lord!
All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:11-12)
Related post: Are there any reason to give thanks?