Thanksgiving long before the pilgrims

I grew up LOVING Thanksgiving, for many reasons. First of all, it was the official launch of the Christmas season. As with most of us still today, an every-year tradition was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with all the giant floats, huge crowds, and waiting for that moment when “Santa” closed out the parade. Yep, back then, that made the holiday season official – Christmas was right around the corner. In this year of COVID-19, the actual live event in Manhattan won’t even happen.

What a strange year indeed.

As I got older, Thanksgiving meant even more to me. In studying the origin of our country, and the sacrifices that were made by the founders of this great nation, I couldn’t help but be grateful for all that this holiday represented. A day set aside to offer thanks to God for His bountiful provision and protection.

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But the call for Thanksgiving is much older than the Pilgrims and the native Americans that celebrated that first American holiday. As believers, we have the most for which to be thankful. Our God is the Author of Thanksgiving, the source of its deepest meaning.

The Book of Psalms is full of declarations of Thanksgiving…here are a few, from the English Standard Version:

Ps. 26:7

…proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,

and telling all your wondrous deeds.

Ps. 50:14

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

and perform your vows to the Most High…

Ps. 69:30

I will praise the name of God with a song;

I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Ps. 95:2

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Ps. 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

This year, in whatever way you celebrate this special day, may we all remember to be thankful…especially thankful to God. He is the Lord, worthy of all praise, and the object of all our thanksgiving.


About the Author

Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers.  In Gainesville, Mike is heard on WTMN – 96.3 FM / 1430 AM. In Ocala, on WRZN – 103.5 FM / 720 AM. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader.  As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.

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