Thanksgiving: Our Response to God's Greatness
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
In this stormy time of social transformation, no
change impacts this nation more profoundly than its shifting views of God. And
those views -- Christian or not --shape our beliefs, our doubts, our
prayers, our relationships and our giving of thanks. So to
understand the meaning of Thanksgiving 2003, we might begin with two
questions: Who is God? Why is He worthy of our thanks?
The Pilgrims knew the answers well. They
saw God as the sovereign Creator and Master of the universe. Food, clothing,
health or sickness, prosperity or poverty, life and death...
everything came from Him and through Him. Nothing happened apart from His will and
But such beliefs are no longer welcome in
public places. The faith of our Pilgrim fathers cannot be taught in
social studies. God's hand in American history has been
censored. The vacuum has been filled with a diversity of
and mystical forces complete with timeless myths and enticing magic. And
the transformation didn't happen overnight.
Back in the eighties, government schools
were already trading truths for myths. Popular history texts told
children that the Pilgrims gave their thanks to the Indians, not to
God. When a mother shared her concern and tried to explain the
Pilgrims' gratefulness to God on that first Thanksgiving feast, the
principal argued that her position "was just opinion and not
documented fact.... They could only teach what was contained in the
By November 1990 --
soon after the
environmental movement swept into the American
consciousness -- educational change agents had picked another
alternative to God. Scholastic (Harry
Potter's publisher) News circulated the following Thanksgiving
about half of all our nation’s elementary schools:
THANKS TO THE EARTH
"The first Thanksgiving feasts were harvest festivals. People gathered
to celebrate successful harvests and to thank the Earth for its
Now, twelve years later, the distortions and
deceptions have multiplied, permeating our culture. Try asking a stranger, Who is God?
Chances are, the answer will fit the
all-pervasive global theme: "unity in diversity." For example,
God is an impersonal pantheistic force
flowing through all forms
of life and making all things one.
He is a permissive Santa Claus-like deity who answers
the prayers of all people when they are "good" or pray the "right" way.
She is a non-judgmental feminine force or personified
angelic presence which can be activated through mind-altering rituals and
God is a feel-good blend of all the various religious
paths: the universalism of Baha'i, the mysticism of Hinduism, the chakras and
five-fold path of Buddhism, along with some pleasing promises from the Bible
and a non-judgmental image of a loving Jesus.
The last option best illustrates our
It epitomizes synthesis, solidarity and consensus. It grinds away at
the edges of separatism, non-conformity and Christianity. And its
dedicated disciples are far more acceptable to our global
managers than those who walk the "narrow way" with Jesus. Small wonder today's postmodern crowds are
trading the God of the Bible for the "feel-good" gods of the
To speed this
educational change agents are
pressing institutions into
line. For example, Harvard University has
Committee on Healthy Diversity. It
will guide political correctness and propose new restrictions on
speech and religious freedom.
Meanwhile, the USA, like Canada comes ever closer to legislating what
Biblical truths pastors may or may not teach their congregations.
To the world around us, God's Word is
simply too offensive. So are some of His most basic and wonderful
attributes -- even as they fill our own hearts with thanks:
1. He is the
sovereign King of the
universe, the almighty
Creator and Sustainer of all things. Therefore we give
Him thanks for family, health, home, rain and sunshine, beautiful fall
leaves.... everything He has given us for our daily walk with Him and
our participation in His purposes.
2. He is our
Savior, our Redeemer, our
and our Fountain of Life.
Therefore, I thank Him for opening my eyes to my own sinful nature
and my need for His mercy and forgiveness. And we thank Him together
for His resurrection life and for His promised victory over evil,
temptation, sin and death by the power of His Spirit -- now and
3. He is our
Strength, our Keeper, our
Shepherd and our
Peace. We thank Him for reconciling us to Himself,
bringing us into the shelter of His presence, filling us with a "peace
that passeth understanding"
and leading us in His triumph wherever He sends us.
4. He is
Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider, our Friend and our Confidence.
We thank Him for meeting all our needs, satisfying our deepest
longings and giving us the faith
to count on His promises and believe what He has shown us about
Himself and His wonderful ways.
5. He is the living Word, the eternal and triumphant
Truth -- our Shepherd and Guide on the journey He has mapped out
for each of us. We thank Him for the truths He has planted in our
hearts, for they enable us to discern deceptions and walk in His
victory no matter how fierce the battle.
"Yes, he is
altogether lovely. This is my
beloved, and this is my friend!"
Song of Solomon 5:16.
Those who would
re-imagine God --
trading our holy and majestic Lord for a more compliant human
imitation -- would be
wise to consider these warnings.
"...although they knew God, they did not
glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their
thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."
"...when you have eaten and are full, and
have built beautiful houses and dwell in them... your heart is lifted up
and you forget the Lord your God.... you say in your heart, ‘My power
and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ ... If you by any
means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods... you shall
In Old Testament days, God would
withdraw His loving care and protection from Israel when the people
rejected His truths and "walked in the counsels and in the imagination
of their evil heart."
Left to their own meager resources, they often faced drought,
famine, wars and disease -- all of which will increase in end times.
Let's not forget that we, as a nation, will face the same consequences if and when we
turn away from Him.
If that happens, which well it might,
the Shepherd will be our shelter in the
storm. He is our fortress and deliverer; our strength, in whom we can
trust! "In the world you will have tribulation;" He tells us,
"but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
"...in everything give thanks; for
this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."