I was curious, so I Googled “Thanksgiving.” It’s always interesting to see how Google describes words we commonly use. Google’s idea of Thanksgiving is that it’s a national holiday celebrated not only in the U.S., but in other countries as well. According to Google, Thanksgiving “celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English Pilgrims of Plymouth and the local Native Americans.’
While we think of Thanksgiving as a day, the Bible sees it as an attitude. In Scripture, thanksgiving is an attitude of gratitude toward God in response to God’s acts in human history.
Thanksgiving was central to Old Testament worship. Offerings were brought to God, not grudgingly, but with thanksgiving. The Bible is clear that the attitude with which we give back to God is a lot more important than what we give.
“I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the LORD better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs." - Psalms 69:30-31
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wanted early believers in Jesus Christ to understand that being grateful is a natural part of their worship and should characterize the way they live every day. In his letter to the Christians at Colossae, Paul told them they should “overflow with gratitude” for having received Jesus Christ into their hearts. If you’re like me, “overflowing with gratitude” doesn’t come naturally. I have to remind myself constantly of God’s great gifts to me and his blessings.
When I’m reminded of God’s great gifts, I think about you and your partnership in the work of Buckner, whether you’re a member of our fantastic team, a volunteer, a member of one of the great churches that works alongside us, or a donor who gives financially to help the children, families and seniors we serve. I am personally thankful for your participation in this ministry; for the thousands of lives you are helping every day.
I recently met Annette Chavez, a mom with three beautiful children who lives at one of our Buckner Family Pathways™ communities. Annette has an amazing story of God’s great grace and mercy. Abandoned as a child, she bounced around the child welfare system and ended up in a gang. She eventually gave birth to a child and was about to get married when her fiancé was tragically killed and two months later, she was told her baby was terminally ill. Just as her life was spiraling out of control, God brought her to Buckner. Today, Annette is finishing her bachelor’s degree and wants to give back as her way of thanking those who gave to her.
“The chains have been broken,” she told me. “My kids do not know the life I had and I am so thankful for that.”
Annette will tell you that while she suffered in her previous life, she knows Jesus suffered even more for her.
As we reflect this year on the blessings God gives us, I’m so very thankful for stories like Annette’s and for so many people like you who are part of her story of redemption. I’m grateful for you. I appreciate your work on behalf of children, families and seniors.
I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones and that God calls to mind his great mercies, which are new every morning.