Thanksgiving Day is a time to reflect and be thankful for all that God has given us. Most of us consider Thanksgiving Day to be something that is celebrated only in the United States of America. Did you know other countries celebrate similar holidays and feasts? It’s true! Consider this....
India celebrates harvest in various regions.
Canada celebrates thanksgiving in October.
The cornucopia is traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It comes from Greek mythology and was said to be a “horn of plenty” that was given by the Greek god Zeus. The horn was believed to magically produce an endless supply of anything desired by the one who owns the horn.
The Chinese Festival of “Chung Ch’ui” — on this day many in China eat moon cakes (small yellow cakes) to celebrate the harvest moon.
The Jewish feast of Sukkot is observed during the harvest season.
The ancient Egyptians had a feast in honor of Min, the god of harvest and fertility.
Lamas Day, was celebrated in the British Isles. On this day people would take a loaf of bread to church. The loaf was baked from the first harvest.
Harvest Festival is celebrated in the UK and as time goes on many of the American traditions and foods are added to celebration dinners.
Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in Croatia on August 5th. But rather than a thanksgiving holiday it is really a memorial to the day that the city of Knin was seized by the Croatian Army during the War of Independence.
Other countries such as Germany, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria and Korea also have thanksgiving and/or harvest festivals. Most are celebrated in the Fall, but all revolve around prayers of blessing, safety, and gratitude.
What sets our Thanksgiving apart from these other days on the calendar? Not the day we celebrate, but the way we celebrate. For the Christian it should be more than just a “national” holiday or a time of reflection. We are part of an awesome spiritual nation with eternal rewards. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29),
No one should have to remind the unshakable kingdom of God to be thankful. However, it is a sad truth that without these reminders we might forget to stop and say thank you. Notice how many times in the Bible that people forgot to practice the law of God, worship properly, or observe the special feast days. Let’s use this Thanksgiving to turn over a new leaf (yes, that is a Fall pun). Let’s be thankful EVERYDAY but let’s make this year’s Thanksgiving Day an entire day of praise and gratitude. Make it the best one ever!
How can we make this the best Thanksgiving ever? Spend time journaling about how you have been blessed by God. Commit to saying 7 prayers of thanksgiving throughout the day. Go around the table during the meal time and tell reasons why you are thankful. Call 10 people and tell them how thankful you are to have them in your life. Read Bible verses on thanksgiving (I Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 30, Psalm 138, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 3:15-17). Whatever you do, give glory to God!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds