Q: Did the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate every year come from the Bible, like Easter or Christmas did? I’ve always assumed this was the case, but someone told me recently they didn’t think so. — M.H.
A: Instead of setting aside only one day for thanksgiving, the Bible actually designated several times during the year for God’s people to celebrate his goodness and thank him for his blessings.
Each year at the beginning of the harvest season, for example, God’s people were called to come together to give thanks for his goodness in supplying their needs. This festival took place in late spring, 50 days after the annual Passover celebration.
As the harvest season ended in the fall, God’s people celebrated another time of thanksgiving, lasting seven days. Other times of thanksgiving during the year also recalled God’s mercy and goodness. The Psalmist said, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving … give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).
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But more than that, people were urged to remember God’s goodness every day of the year, and that should be true for us as well. Life isn’t always the way we wish it were, but even in the midst of life’s hardest times, God’s grace and mercy are still with us. Nothing transforms our darkness like the blazing light of thankfulness.
May this Thanksgiving season be a time of true gratitude for you, thanking God for all he has done. Be thankful most of all for Jesus Christ, who came down from heaven to save us from our sins. Make sure your faith and trust are in him, and thank him daily for his love for you. The Bible says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. … And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.