Submitted by Pastor David Klappenbach, Rock Port First Lutheran Church
“Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and on earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. And now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:10-13
During the month of November our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving. This past Sunday, November 4, many churches gathered to give thanks to God for the lives of those who died in the Lord for their witness. On November 11, we had a prayer petition of Thanksgiving for those who have served our country in the military. On November 22, many of us will gather with our families and celebrate Thanksgiving Day by feasting, visiting, and catching up on one another’s lives, especially if you have been separated for quite some time. For some it will be a time to reflect a bit on the many blessings we have experienced throughout the year and giving thanks to God for all those blessings. November is a month that offers ample opportunities for thanksgiving.
King David in the scripture above is doing just that. He is giving thanks to God. If you thought it strange to choose a scripture passage from 1 Chronicles as the focus of a Thanksgiving article, that is the reason. This scripture reminds us that Thanksgiving Day did not begin with the Puritans. Our Christian roots go back to God’s people of the Old Testament. God’s people have always been people of thanksgiving. The verses are what I call a “Blessed are you, O Lord…” First of all, David gives us a description of who our Lord God is in the verses that follow. We have a God of greatness and power and glory and victory and majesty. His is the kingdom. He is exalted as head above all. All strength comes from Him. All that is in heaven and earth comes from His creative hand. All that is in heaven and earth are His. May this give us a sense of wonder and awe of who God is. As we think about Thanksgiving we could benefit from a bit more of reverence for our God. Secondly, as we reflect on who God is and give thanks to Him for all His gifts and blessings, what do we really need to worry about? Everything is in God’s loving hand.
Our family (my wife’s side of the family) has the tradition of doing just that. Before we dig into the meal we go around the circle of 25 or so, each taking a turn to offer a thanksgiving or a blessing we have experienced. As the family went around the circle offering what they were thankful for I noticed that many were thanking God for: good health, for healing from a serious disease, for closeness of family, for a job to earn a living, for delightful grandchildren, for safe travel from far places to be with everyone, and for the meal we were about to eat. And they were giving all credit to our Lord for these gifts. Of course there were many other thanksgivings and I am sure you can come up with many others as they apply to your lives. At the end one of my nieces offered this moving Thanksgiving: “For God loving us and sending His only Son Jesus to save us from our sins and giving us eternal life.” She was thankful for Jesus. Yes, we do have much to be thankful for this year. Yes, most of all, we as God’s people rejoice in the Lord for all He has done for us in Jesus Christ. With a God like this what do we have to worry about? May our lives be full of Thanksgiving and “Blessed are You O Lord…” throughout the all the years of our lives.
Blessed are You, O Lord, Our God, King of the Universe. We give you thanks for Your steadfast love which endures forever; for giving us all that we need to live, our lives, our families, homes, food and clothing, land and animals; We give You thanks for Your love in Jesus Your Son, to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin and to restore our relationship to You, O Lord; and lead us all into lives of thanksgiving by Your Holy Spirit to become the people You intend for us to be. Amen