Thanksgiving has been observed as a federal holiday in The United States of America since the year 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Such a wise and humble man he was…
As we left Raleigh and touched down in Dallas last night, the airport was FULL of families traveling together and college students trying to get home to their parents. I observed their smiling faces, much laughter and joy. Statistics claim Thanksgiving to be the most heavily traveled holiday of all – beating out Christmas. We all love the spread of food upon the dining room table, the mound of desserts, the long naps, and of course the football.
It is a Thanksgiving tradition in our home to have what we call a BLESSING BOWL. This is a pretty bowl, complete with pen and paper, set to the side where each member of our family can steal away at some point on Thanksgiving Day to record the personal blessings of their own heart. No one actually reads the words written on each slip of paper. It is merely a private moment to reflect and an act of worship to our provisional Lord.
I dare say that most who gather on this wonderful holiday feel some sort of gratitude in their hearts for the blessed meal and those who sit around their tables, but are they mindful to express gratitude to God above?
In Luke Chapter 17, we read the story of Jesus traveling to Jerusalem when suddenly He is met on the road by 10 lepers. These men recognize Jesus and cry out to Him for mercy in their desperate situation. Have you ever done that? Have you ever cried out to Jesus in desperation?
Right then and there, Jesus proclaims, “Go, show yourselves to the priests – and as they begin to walk all 10 men are cleansed from their leprosy! Totally cleansed! Just think – if you suffered from an illness or a disease for most of your life and one day Jesus suddenly heals you from head to toe – would YOU be thankful? It seems like an automatic appropriate response if you ask me.
But, it was not.
The Bible records that only 1 of the 10 men returned to give thanks to Jesus. This man was most gracious, falling at the feet of Jesus with humble praise. But, where were the other 9? Were they like the many today who cry out to God for help in their difficult moments, but then totally disregard Him any other time? Were they truly unthankful or simply remiss in conveying their feelings?
Being thankful is more than an emotion we feel from time to time. Genuine gratitude is an attitude of the heart that must be expressed in action. To be truly grateful is to raise your voice to heaven – it is taking time to call that special person – it is writing that Thank You card, it is giving honor to those whom it is due. Thanksgiving is just that – the “giving” of thanks for the gratitude you feel in your heart.
Special heavenly provision is reserved for those who are truly thankful and not forgetful to convey their feelings of gratitude. As I read this portion of scripture from Luke 17 this morning a revelation suddenly jumped out at me – we already know that all 10 men were cleansed of their disease but this scripture tells us that the 1 man who returned to GIVE THANKS to Jesus was actually MADE WHOLE. You see, THIS man received more than his healing. THIS man was MADE WHOLE in every area of his life.
His IDENTITY was made whole.
His MIND was made whole.
His EMOTIONS were made whole.
His SPIRIT was made whole.
His PAST was made whole.
His PROVISION was made whole.
His LIFE was made whole.
This is Huge. We must catch this! Thanksgiving opens the door to a whole and blessed life.
With this wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday upon us, ponder this question - Are you the 1 who lavishes thanksgiving and praise upon God or are you merely one of the 9 – self focused and forgetful? Determine to become the one who daily expresses gratitude and watch a brand new, whole life unfold around you. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours. Love, Jeneen.