Herald Journal Columns
Nov. 22, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Why do we need Thanksgiving?

By Rev. Leland D. Bendix, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Middleville Township

The Scriptures tell us that we are to give thanks for everything: “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20); and every circumstance: “Give thanks in all circumstances – for this is the will of God for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The admonition comes to us, over and over again, from the prophets and the apostles. We are told that it is good for us to give thanks for things such as our daily bread, and even a new day to live in.

Thanks is given when we receive something that we did not expect or that which we did not earn or deserve. It is an expression of gratefulness for blessings we received at the kindness of others toward us.

It becomes more difficult when giving thanks for the hurts and pains in our life, whatever they may be. Hard times help to increase faith and to improve character.

The giving of thanks helps us to see that all that we have comes from a generous gift of someone else, no matter how much time and energy we have put into it. The very air we breathe is a gift from God – let alone the lungs to take it in.

Thanksgiving helps us to see that even getting up from our bed in the morning is God’s gracious gift to us that we do not deserve. He freely gives so that we may come to acknowledge that He is the giver of all good things to whom thanks are due.

Thanksgiving takes focus away from us and places it on the gracious giver so that we may, in humble gratitude, acknowledge the gift.

The greatest gift ever given was the gift of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save sinners. Through faith in Him who died for us, we have eternal life.

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