Thanksgiving; not a season, but a spirit….


Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.          Philippines 4: 4-7

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, at the end of the harvest season, is an annual American Federal holiday to express thanks for one’s material and spiritual possessions.

Most people celebrate by gathering at home with family or friends for a holiday feast. Though the holiday’s origins can be traced to harvest festivals which have been celebrated in many cultures since ancient times, the American holiday has religious undertones related to the deliverance of the English settlers by Native Americans after the brutal winter at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

We in America have just celebrated another Thanksgiving season. For those that are familiar with the celebration in the states,  the above picture pretty much sums up the experiences of that Thanksgiving Day.

The very ascription of the holiday’s name, conjures up a spirit of gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness which is a attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Therefore this gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness has a strong affinity towards material blessings. What happens when the ‘material blessing’ is not evident, does that mean that we don’t have anything to be thankful for? If one considers the spirit associated with Thanksgiving in America today, one might surmise.

This was not the case with the Apostle Paul. While in prison for preaching the gospel of Christ, he wrote the epistle to the Philippines exhorting them not to worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

In this letter of encouragement to the body of Christ at Philippi, we find a ‘thankful spirit’ ruling and reigning in the thoughts and in the words of the Apostle Paul. He was not seated before a fine meal with all the trimmings, nor probably had not slept in a warm comfortable bed the night before and probably a pauper by all economic standards, yet he not only exhorted his brothers and sisters to such, but manifested by his own testimony a ‘thankful spirit’.

The first thing that we must consider is that thanksgiving is not a season. This exhortation came not on the last Thursday in November but in a day in which the body of Christ needed to understand that they could be thankful and content with such things as they had. No matter the circumstances.  

We can also see that gratefulness and thankfulness is not contingent upon our external circumstances. It is a spirit and this spirit is not influenced by what we have or don’t have. It is a spirit that manifest a grateful appreciation and thankfulness understanding that no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in that we have a God who is faithful and we can put every ounce of our trust in Him and His perfect will. It is then and only then that we find ourselves immersed in a peace which surpasses all understanding and shall keep us through the circumstance, and that with a ‘thankful spirit’.

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


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