Here you will find a podcast plus notes on Thanksgiving (19 minutes).

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Origins of the American Celebration

  • An American / Canadian holiday (2nd Monday of October and 4th Thursday of November)
  • First celebrated in 1621, the pilgrims joined by their Native American neighbors of the Wampanoag tribe.
  • This explains why the celebration combined European and indigenous American customs.
  • And yet Thanksgiving, in our self-directed culture, easily becomes a time of ingratitude.

Biblical sidelights on Thanksgiving

  • Many of the Psalms express gratitude
    • Psalm 69:30 -- "I will praise the name of God with a song / I will magnify him with thanksgiving."
    • Psalm 100:4 -- "Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! / Give thanks to him; bless his name!"
  • Thanksgiving is a special theme in Luke's gospel
    • Luke is full of stories of people responding appropriately / inappropriately, with or without gratitude (such as the rich man and Zacchaeus, in Luke 18 and 19).
    • Luke 7 -- the sinful woman loves much.
      • It is easy to despise those who effusively express their gratitude (like Michal, 2 Samuel 6). Do I look down on those more expressive than me? (Or on those less expressive than I am?)
      • How expressive am I? In thanking others, thanking God, sharing the good news...?
      • Further study: take a look at other versions of this story, for example in John 12.
    • Luke 17 -- the 10 lepers
      • Forgetfulness, inattention, loss of focus -- perhaps the failure of the 9 was inadvertent.
      • Returning to show thanks will cost us thought, energy, money, time (change of plans?)
      • Thanksgiving is a characteristic of authentic spirituality.
      • 2 Kings 5 -- Naaman the leper.
    • Revelation 7:12 -- "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."
  • For further thought:
    • Notice the emphasis on gratitude in the epistles. Make a list of verses, and commit one to memory.
    • Do you agree that only 10% of Christians have the "gift of evangelism"? Why or why not? Either way, what are the implications?
    • If I am a parent, are my children grateful? Or do they seem to behave in an "entitled" way?
    • I preached a Thanksgiving sermon at the North River Church of Christ (Marietta, Georgia) on 27 November 2011, inspired by my study underlying this podcast. Perhaps you'll want to listen to it (26 minutes).

This talk is the 11th podcast in a series of 12 on Special Days.