Enter His gates with thanksgiving
November 23, 2009
by Rev. Michael Nirva, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4

The observance of Thanksgiving Day is a great American tradition. Americans have become accustomed to hearing or reading the proclamation of the president of our country, pursuant to which we assemble in our respective houses of worship to render thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest that has been bestowed upon us; the prosperity that our country has enjoyed.

As Christians, we have additional and higher reasons for thanksgiving. We are grateful not only for earthly prosperity, but especially also for the success God gives to the preaching and teaching of gospel everywhere, for the prosperity of the church. We are grateful for the peace between God and man that has been accomplished for us by the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the gospel, the good news of our salvation in Jesus Christ, God gives forgiveness, faith, life, and the promise of eternal life to all who believe in what Christ has done. Because of all of these spiritual blessings, Christians have good reason to be thankful.

Therefore, Thanksgiving Day should also be a church day – a day in which we gladly and thankfully “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”

From the ancient times of the Old Testament, God’s people have set aside time for feasting and for praising. Blessed are we if Thanksgiving Day can be a day of edifying worship, prayer, and praise in God’s house.

It would be a good practice to worshipfully reflect on all of God’s blessings to us by making a list of the things we receive from His generous hand. If we are honest, the list, for most of us, becomes quite long. In thankfulness, we recognize God as the source of everything, especially forgiveness, life, and salvation in Christ Jesus, our precious Savior and Lord.

God wants us to be thankful people, and when we reflect on who our Savior is and that we are part of His kingdom, we can be thankful indeed.