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Message From Pastor Leon

posted Oct 23, 2012, 7:27 AM by Tracey Morris   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:38 AM ]

In the autumn of 1621 the new settlers to our country gathered with some native Indians for a three-day thanksgiving feast to celebrate a good harvest. This event in 1621 was not a holiday, but simply a gathering to express thankfulness and share in the Lord’s bounty. Thanksgiving Day as a holiday dates back to 1863 when President Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November a national holiday as an encouragement for Americans to give thanks to God for His provision. Since then Thanksgiving Day has remained a national holiday.

As Christians we can be glad that our nation observes a national day of thanksgiving. However, if the celebration of Thanksgiving Day is simply one day to pause from the busyness of life and work, and give thanks in whatever way people wish to express thanks and then get back to the regular swing of things, it bears little resemblance to what the Bible means by gratitude to God. For Chrisitians, Thanksgiving Day provides us with the opportunity to express our thankfulness to God for all His blessings on a single special day, and then continue to express that thankfulness with lives of gratitude and generosity throughout the year.

Jesus taught us to pray "give us this day our daily bread." Martin Luther in his explanation of this petition indicated that "daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body" and that we as God’s people "receive our daily bread with thanksgiving."

It is a very good practice to be regular and consistent in our prayers at mealtimes. Truly our Lord is good and His mercy endures forever. Saying daily prayers like this helps us remember that thanksgiving is a daily activity of God’s people. This encourages us to remember that thanksgiving is a daily way of life, not just a once a year holiday.

November is Stewardship month at St. Paul's. Christian stewards are people with grateful hearts and giving hands. All good gifts come from God and He intends for us to receive them with thankfulness and use them in ways that honor Him and bless others. God’s good gifts include healthy relationships, special talents, time, the privilege of sharing the good news of Jesus, financial resources, and so much more. Jesus frees us from the selfish use of all these gifts and the Holy Spirit helps us live like the children of God who freely use all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day this month, and may your celebration be another reminder that thanksgiving is meant to be a daily response for all that God so richly provides.

--Pastor Leon