A long time ago, I was invited to a Thanksgiving meal by a couple who didn’t have a strong faith background (at that time). It was a large gathering with multiple families around an extended table, complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, biscuits, cranberry sauce, and a plump golden-brown turkey on a platter. The air was buzzing with excited chatter and the viscid bouquet of simmering gravy.
At the appointed time, we were ushered to our seats, and then for a moment, the room hushed, as we eyed one another and the epicurean feast before us. Then our hostess announced loudly, “Okay everyone! Dig in!”
As we passed the potatoes and debated the merits of light and dark meat between us, I couldn’t help but ponder the obvious irony lost on our hosts. We gathered for Thanksgiving, but we never gave thanks. Not to one another, and not to God. So while the meal was amazing and the company was pleasant, the overarching reason for our gathering went largely ignored.
So we weren’t thanksgiving. We were thanks-eating.
Thanksgiving is still one of the more pure holidays, in my opinion. It hasn’t been diluted by Easter bunnies or Santa Clauses or talking Snowmen. It is still largely separated from Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. Regardless of faith tradition, Thanksgiving still represents a sense of family, of gratitude, of the sacred. So I thought that, as artists of faith and especially those of us who lead worship, it would be good to remind ourselves of seven Scripture passages which point ourselves to an attitude of thanksgiving and worship to our good and gracious God. And may you and yours be blessed this Thanksgiving.
“For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the musicians and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.” Nehemiah 12:46 NIV
“From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.” Jeremiah 30:19 NIV
“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” Ezra 3:11 NIV
Therefore… “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” Psalm 95:2 NIV
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 NIV
And as we give thanks…“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
Because…”You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Cornithians 9:11 NIV
[NOTE: For more Thanksgiving blogs, see A Grand Thanksgiving Story.]