Hebrews 13:15 – “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to Yahweh . . .”
Next Thursday, November 25th, is Thanksgiving Day 2021. Thanksgiving was founded as a religious observance for all the members of the community to give thanks to God for a common purpose. Common to these purposes were thanks for civil and religious liberty, for useful knowledge, and for God’s kind care and providence. Several presidents cited the Judeo-Christian tradition as a basis for giving thanks to God.
Psalm 107:22 – “Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.”
The first thanksgiving in the Americas was celebrated by Spanish explorers after their first harvest in the 16th century. This celebration became common throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607, and the settlers of Jamestown held their first thanksgiving feast in 1610. On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred and, as required by their charter, observed a day of thanksgiving to God which was to be celebrated on the same day on a yearly basis. In 1621, the holiday that is now referred to as the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. The feast lasted three days. It included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans, and the food was cooked by four of the surviving Pilgrim women.
George Washington again proclaimed a Thanksgiving in 1795. The first National Proclamation of Thanksgiving was printed by the Continental Congress in 1777 based on a draft by Samuel Adams. President John Adams declared Thanksgivings in 1798 and 1799. James Madison renewed the tradition in 1814 after the close of the War of 1812. In 1816, Governor Plumer of New Hampshire appointed Thursday, November 14th to be the day of observance and Governor Brooks of Massachusetts appointed Thursday, November 28th. By 1858 proclamations appointing a day of thanksgiving had been issued by the governors of twenty-five states and two territories.
In 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November that year and in each year following. The actual day varied each year depending upon whether there were only four Thursdays or five each November. In December of 1941 Congress finalized the day requiring that Thanksgiving be observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November.
Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
Thanksgiving was founded as a religious observance for all the members of the community to give thanks to God for a common purpose. Common to these purposes were thanks for civil and religious liberty, for useful knowledge, and for God’s kind care and providence. Several presidents cited the Judeo-Christian tradition as a basis for giving thanks to God.
The tradition of giving thanks continues today on the fourth Thursday of November. Many attend worship services at their local church, and most include a meal as well. At home, families say a prayer of thanksgiving listing all the things for which each member is grateful, and then a sumptuous meal ensues!
Give Thanks – Play An Instrument
Psalm 33:2 – “Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!”
Psalm 147:7 – “Sing unto Yahweh with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto him.”
Psalm 149:3 – “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”
Psalm 150:5 – “Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.”
I find nothing in scripture that limits what kind of instruments can be used to praise Yahweh. Just the opposite, in fact. Here is just a small sampling of the instruments mentioned in scripture: castanet, cymbals, flute, harp, lyre, organ, pipe, reed, shofar, tambourine, timbrel, and trumpet. Give thanks to Yahweh with cymbals, and lyres, and other loud, noisy instruments!
Give Thanks – Sing A Song Unto Yahweh
Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; . . . and with my song I give thanks to him.”
Psalm 40:3 – “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to Yahweh.”
Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
Psalm 95:2 – “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”
Singing a song, or many songs, is one of the breathtaking and awesome ways to give thanks, as long as the song is not a dirge! Give thanks to Yahweh by singing songs, psalms, hymns, even with a new song!
Give Thanks – Fulfill A Vow
Psalm 22:25 – “From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.”
Psalm 50:14 – “Offer unto Yahweh thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.”
Jonah 2:9 – “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay.”
Ecclesiastes 5:4 – “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it . . . Pay what you vow.”
Paying vows is a very serious matter according to scripture. Ecclesiastes 5:5 finishes with the words: “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.” Failing to pay a vow, in fact, is acting sinfully. Deuteronomy 23:21 puts is this way: “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you.” Paying vows is another way to enter into Yahweh’s presence to praise and thank him for all he has done and continues to do.
Give Thanks – Maintain A Heart Of Gratitude
Colossians 2:6-7 – “Therefore as you have received Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, walk . . . overflowing with gratitude.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Hebrews 12:28 – “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”
A thankful heart filled with gratitude is a joy, delight, and blessing to Yahweh. We are to be thankful and give praise no matter what our circumstances. Maintaining a heart of gratitude is another way to give thanks to Yahweh for all he has done and continues to do.
Give Thanks – Eat Well
Most United States homes celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a meal centered around a baked or roasted turkey with buckets of turkey gravy, although a baked or roasted ham is also popular. When turkey is the main ingredient, stuffing is a must. Other foods include mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, casseroles, peas and carrots, green beans, homemade breads, and cranberry sauce.
The meal is indubitably followed by a pumpkin pie with whipped cream topping. Brownies, cookies, salads, chips and dips, cheesecakes, and apple pies topped with vanilla ice cream are also favorites at this meal. I’ll take that slice of Butterscotch pie topped with mile high whipped cream, thank you! Give thanks to Yahweh for all the wonderful treats he supplies to eat.
Psalm 50:14 – “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High.”
Scripture continuously admonishes us to Maintain An Attitude Of Gratitude, an attitude of thankfulness, an attitude of praise, and to do so with plenty of rejoicing and noise no matter what our circumstances. Thanksgiving day melds both the custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest and a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting.
Giving thanks to Yahweh for his blessings is right and essential – he is the only source of the blessings that one enjoys year round. Demonstrate that attitude of gratitude by offering Yahweh praise and thanksgiving, by singing a song, by playing an instrument, by paying a vow, or by simply eating well.