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Thanksgiving is A Choice

David Gentiles

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“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!” Psalm 107:21-22

Every year at Thanksgiving Dinner we share a rich tradition in our home that my mom started many years ago.  It’s called the 5 Kernels of Corn tradition.  At each place setting would rest five single kernels of corn representing five blessings for us to share around the table.  The legend goes that when the Pilgrims encountered their first winter in America food was scarce so they had to ration their corn to five kernels per day.  They trusted the Lord during this difficult time and blessed him for the grace that had been given to them.  So for the Gentiles it looks like this: We eat a little, share a blessing or a story, eat a little more, then share and share until our kernels are gone and our hearts are full of gratitude for what God has done in the previous year.  It continues to be one of our favorite family traditions. But the practice of recounting God’s blessing didn’t originate with the Gentiles or the Pilgrims. It began centuries ago with men and women like King David who faithfully recounted the hand of God in their lives.

In Psalm 107: KING DAVID gives us a model for thanksgiving.

 He starts out with proclaiming: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so..”  (107:1,2) Then he took time to be specific about what God had done for he and his people.  Much like the 5 Kernels activity he started listing things like: “Some wandered in deserts.. some were hungry and thirsty.. and they cried out to the Lord and he delivered them.” (107:4-9) Even when the people were in chains because of their own sin and rebellion, God spared them and shattered their chains when they repented. (107:10:16)  He was near to the needy and blessed their families (107:39-42).  In short, God was with his people and David recounted it with an offering of thanksgiving.  What is interesting is that he finishes his prayer of gratitude with these words: “Whoever is wise be attentive to these things.. consider the love of the Lord.” (107:43) You see David knew that even amidst great trouble and distress, to be a wise man meant being a thankful man.

My prayer for each of us is that we will consider the love of God every day, not just on Turkey Day.  In doing so we recount the grace of God, we celebrate and enjoy God’s provision and protection, and express the manifold wisdom of God in placing our trust in him for future days.

 Charles Spurgeon once said: “To understand the delightful attribute of loving-kindness is an attainment as pleasant it is profitable: those who are proficient scholars in this art will be among sweetest singers to the glory of Jehovah.” (The Treasury of David)

CHALLENGE: Let’s begin the prayers and songs of thanksgiving right now.  Let’s not wait until the turkey and dressing is on the table, but dive into the bounty of grace that God has already bestowed upon us and respond with Joy and ThanksGiving.