Devotional: Thanksgiving, November 26, 2020
1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. 2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. 5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered, 6 O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
Psalm 105: 1-6 New Revised Standard Version
Several Psalms are classified by Biblical scholars as “Thanksgiving Psalms. Psalm 105 is a wonderful example of such a Psalm.
Here, the Psalmist encourages us to give thanks to the Lord, expressing thankfulness with singing, and the sharing and retelling of God’s marvelous deeds.
The Psalm recounts how God was faithful to His people, particularly through the miraculous way in which He saved His people from starvation through the story of Joseph finding favor in Egypt. This favorite son of Jacob used his position to save his father and brothers when they came hungry and begging for food. Although improbable, the Israelites retold the story as evidence of how God has been faithful in the past, and would be faithful in the future.
The actual story of the original Thanksgiving in our nation shares some similarities with the biblical story of the Israelites. There is a journey involved (for the Pilgrims, the journey was by sea in the Mayflower across the ocean to a New world to worship freely. There was an unexpected rescue by an unlikely hero (the Wampanoag Native Americans shared knowledge about how to grow corn, squash, and beans in the poor coastal soil). Yet the biggest similarity is that both ancient Israelites and the Pilgrims of the 1600’s were people of faith, trusting God for deliverance.
What blessings come to your mind, as you think of reasons to celebrate God’s faithfulness to you, your family, your community, your church, and our world? What miracles are you praying for this Thanksgiving?
As the Psalm continues, the history of God’s faithfulness is told again, with mention of Moses. Food is even mentioned specifically! The Psalmist talks about the quails provided by the Lord, to feed His people in the wilderness.
Today, our nation is given an opportunity to reflect upon the blessings for which we are thankful. It has been a difficult year, and seeking blessings may not be as easy this year as it has been in past years. Nonetheless, there are still many blessings to be found if we spend some time reflecting on life. However, we may have to turn over a few rocks in order to find them.
Today, when we sit down for dinner, it will probably have a different feeling than past years. There may be a sense of loneliness and isolation. Traditions, which formerly seemed so ordinary, we will now realize are extraordinary. Yet instead of focusing on what we do not have, may we each seek out things to reflect upon which we do have.
There have been miracles in our lives which we may not have been aware of. We may also realize that we have been a blessing to others. Today, I give thanks for all of you who have sojourned together with me during this odd year of church ministry. You have prayed for me, encouraged me, and given me a stronger sense of our church family. When Jeana and I sit down together this afternoon for our thanksgiving meal, our hearts will be full of the love and appreciation we have for all of you.
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
Lord of all creation,
Thank You for being with me during the most wonderful times, and the most difficult times of my life. Thank You for setting before me a spiritual table of blessing, for which only You have the recipe. When I communicate with others, help me to be a beacon of love and assurance. May I find comfort in Your companionship, and be filled with your love.
Thankfully, I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen