Thanksgiving is upon us and many have made plans to gather with family and friends. Our holiday can be traced back to our Pilgrim heritage as the early nation struggled and gave thanks to God for His provision.
Thanksgiving isn’t just an American holiday, thanksgiving to the Lord for his provision can be seen throughout the Bible. The Harvest Festival, known as Shavuot to the Jewish people (Leviticus 23:16) is one example of this. “The purpose of this celebration is to recognize the Lord as the provider of all crops and as the One who deserves the first-fruits of all produce.” (ESV Study Bible Notes) In fact the festival is sometimes even called, “the day of first-fruits.” Seven weeks were counted or 50 days from the end of Passover until the start of The Harvest Festival.
This day of the first-fruits is referred to in NT as Pentecost (Pentecost is derived from the greek word meaning fifty). The Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers during the Pentecost celebration following Jesus’ ascension. Thus empowering the believers for mission. That same Holy Spirit indwells all believers in Christ today, empowering us for the same mission of sharing the gospel. There is tremendous thanksgiving to God for the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit not only empowers us for mission, He opens our eyes to see the truth of the gospel, convicts us of sin, illuminates the words of Scriptures, brings us comfort, gifts us for service, and fuels us for worship.
My prayer is that we never forget or cease to give thanks for our great many gifts from our Father, especially salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. It was nothing we deserved in an of ourselves, yet our Jesus still graciously and lovingly gave His life for us, providing for our greatest need of all, salvation from sin.
Happy Thanksgiving, God bless!