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The Missing Ingredient in Thanksgiving

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By Kenneth Copeland

Here in the United States, we are blessed to have Thanksgiving as a national observance to thank God and honor Him for all He has given us. In reality, as Christians we have something to celebrate in Jesus Christ every day of the year.

The foundation of all our thanksgiving to God is the new covenant. In that covenant is protection, strength and the power of God as a Father to His children. It’s His desire that we remember everything that covenant means to us.

God established many feasts of thanksgiving in the Old Covenant. He told the people to shout and dance, rejoice and praise Him. And that’s what they did-they celebrated their covenant with God, thanking Him for blessing them. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth….”

In the New Testament, Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Now that’s something for us to shout about! When was the last time you praised God and thanked Jesus for the abundant life He’s provided for us?

It’s well worth the effort. Thanksgiving and praise to God will bring deliverance and freedom.

Give Thanks and Honor

The part of Thanksgiving most believers have missed is the element of honor. Malachi 1:6 says, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts….”

To honor someone, you have to delegate authority to that person. We fear, reverence or highly honor God by living life as He directs. To honor also means “to value, to esteem, to prize highly.” When you honor someone, you respect them for who they are, what they are and what they have done.

First Samuel 2:30 declares, “For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” In biblical language, if you fail to honor something or someone, you despise them.

Does God deserve to be honored? He created the heavens and the earth. He’s Almighty God, Master of all things. He sent His only Son, Jesus, who gave Himself to keep us from going to hell.

God deserves honor.

Giving thanks and honoring God is powerful. When you honor Him, He will honor you and take up your part.

Squanto: ‘Sent of God’

The Thanksgiving Day celebration as we know it actually began with an American Indian named Tisquantum or “Squanto” and Potlatch, an Indian covenant ceremony that involved feasting and the giving of precious gifts to one another in honor and covenant.

Squanto was from the Patuxet tribe, who lived at the place which later became known as Plymouth. In 1605, he was captured by an explorer and taken to England where he learned to speak English. Several years later, Captain John Smith brought him back to New England. Not long after returning, he was kidnapped with a number of other Indians who were taken to Spain to be sold as slaves. Local friars rescued them, taught them to read and write, and introduced them to Christianity. Squanto eventually traveled to England and in 1619 was able to return to his home.

When Squanto reached his village, he discovered his entire tribe had been killed by a plague. Being the only survivor, he went to live with a neighboring tribe, the Wampanoag.

I’ve heard it said, and I believe, Squanto was a strong Christian and a Bible scholar who started a great revival among the Indians and taught them the New Testament. He also eventually taught the settlers who would soon live at the place where his village once stood.

In November 1620, after enduring more than two months of difficult conditions on the Mayflower and being blown off course, the Pilgrims landed at Cape Cod. They had planned to settle north of the Virginia Colony, but instead found themselves in a desolate wilderness. Small shelters were hurriedly constructed, but they were unprepared for the harsh, New England winter and scarcity of food. Before spring, nearly half died from disease and starvation.

Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, trap game and find fish. He also helped negotiate a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and surrounding Indian tribes. According to William Bradford, author of the book Of Plymouth Plantation, “Squanto…was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.”

The harvest brought enough food for the winter, and Gov. Bradford called for a day of thanksgiving. Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag and 90 of his men came and stayed for three days of feasting and entertainment.

Although thanksgiving services had been held before in America, this was the first Thanksgiving festival with both the settlers and Indians participating in the event. They came together over Potlatch and gave thanks for the harvest.

The Nation Gives Thanks

President George Washington declared America’s first national Thanksgiving in 1789. It was not until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as an annual national day of thanksgiving.

In 1941, Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as a permanent, national Thanksgiving holiday.

This Thanksgiving, spend time thanking and praising God for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the new covenant. Give Him honor and praise for all the blessings He has given us