We moved from India to the US in September 2013 and began attending GRC in October. Our first vivid memory of Thanksgiving revolves around the warm invitation we received from the Hanna family. Since then, our dear friends, the Mathews, graciously welcomed us into their family circle. For the past decade, we’ve been part of their Thanksgiving tradition, gathering at their home. It’s been a wonderful experience where we’ve enjoyed a unique twist on the traditional feast – an Indian (masala) turkey that’s been a delightful treat.

For our family, this commemoration holds a unique significance, steeped in its historical roots tracing back to 1621 and formally acknowledged by George Washington in 1789 with support from John Adams and James Madison. However, for me, delving into our history, Abe Lincoln – one of my favorite public servants after Daniel – during the height of the Civil War in 1863, declared this day to be held in sanctity. It was a time to remember the benevolent actions of our sovereign and good Father in the world. If you haven’t yet, I strongly recommend reading an excerpt (link to the full declaration) that, to me, resonates with Daniel’s prayer in Daniel chapter 9 (I seem to be piling up reading assignments for you). The following excerpt might challenge your KJV reading skills.

“ set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”

As members of the body of Christ, we find an even greater reason to embrace thanksgiving. Take a moment to ponder Colossians 2:6-7, which beautifully articulates the foundation of our thankfulness: “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Our chief reason is our Lord Jesus Christ! But our Lord commands us to

  •  “continue to live lives in him” – to rely on the Holy Spirit to live in the new man (putting the old man to death, everyday)
  • “rooted and built up in him” – that the love of God will take deep roots and fortified by fellowship in the body
  •  “Strengthened in the faith as you were taught” – reading, meditating on the word of Christ, praying always, fellowship with saints and diving into the word, are quintessential for strengthening of our faith
  • “and overflowing with thankfulness” – overflow of thankfulness daily or during this Thanksgiving is the result of the reality that we live everyday as described in the verse that we briefly looked at.

Do you struggle to be thankful? Are you overflowing with thankfulness this season? If not, ask the Father to reveal why it is not the way the Word commands us to be? Speak with a fellow believer who you trust, speak with a pastor or elder if you need to.

Donald Thampy headshot   

Donald Thampy serves as an Elder at GRC.