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Let the Praises Begin…

The front page headlines November 23, 2011 from The Dallas Morning News read – “Thanksgiving means big crowds, big business  – holiday headaches”; section E – “GIVE THANKS – for 26 last-minute tips to streamline the big meal.”

Really? Is this all Thanksgiving is about?

The front page headlines November 23, 2011 from The Dallas Morning News read – “Thanksgiving means big crowds, big business  – holiday headaches”; section E – “GIVE THANKS – for 26 last-minute tips to streamline the big meal.”

Really? Is this all Thanksgiving is about?

Tomorrow all over our country and in small enclaves of Americans in other countries Thanksgiving will be celebrated. The roots of this beloved holiday are seeded in the proclamation attributed to Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony, “Plymouth Plantation” in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1693.

“… on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for His blessings.”

Consider what Bradford was asking the pilgrims to do – a simple act of thanking God for how He had provided and taken care of them. While this holiday has morphed into much more than Governor Bradford intended, being thankful to God for all He has done is still a very good idea. Being thankful is always in vogue and transcends any generational shift or any morphing of original intent.

The concept of thanksgiving is embedded in the Scriptures for generations. The Jewish Festivals celebrated God’s provisions. Psalms 100 and 118 are among the psalms of thanksgiving. In the New Testament the apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in everything- I Thessalonians 5:18. The writer of Hebrews clarifies that praise and thanksgiving are suitable sacrifices to offer to God – Hebrews 13:15.

Praise says to God – you are AWESOME, AMAZING, incredible. You are the all powerful, all knowing, ever present GOD – King of Kings and Lord of Lords. YOU brought all things into being. You are the creator. We are your creation.

Thankfulness says to God – oh my, you are so faithful, so gracious. You provide. You load me down with blessings – even in the darkness when I can’t see clearly You are there. You are present. You are God.

 What are you thanking and praising God for right now on this eve of Thanksgiving?

The Pilgrims thanked God for His care, His provisions, for the freedom they had longed for, the freedom to worship God without fear or persecution or interference from the government. By God’s grace they flourished in the New World. It would be easy 300 years later to take for granted the freedom and provisions we have.

And on this eve of Thanksgiving I am reminded of all the places in the world where worshipping God in freedom and safety is not an option. As we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow please join me in praying for the restricted nations and areas that are hostile to the Gospel.

May we never forget to thank God for all He has given us in Christ and for all He has entrusted us with in the Gospel shared by all believers in the global community whether in freedom or in persecution.



 For specific visual information these places are clearly indicated on the Voice of the Martyrs prayer map. For a free copy of the Voice of the Martyrs prayer map call 1-800-747-0085 or email: [email protected]

 

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Gail Seidel

Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.