What is the Meaning of Thanksgiving for Christians? Give Thanks with Purpose.

Nov 25, 2021

Basic Christian Beliefs, Wisdom Wednesdays

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LordMost High.

— Psalms 7:17

Is Thanksgiving a God Thing?

I never have thought of Thanksgiving as a Christian holiday. There is no baby Jesus, or He has risen.

But did you know…

>>The concept of thanks comes up 102 times in the Old Testament.

The Hebrew word- ydh is the main word for thanks and is used 72 of those 102 times. It means-

Acknowledging what is right about God in praise and thanksgiving (1 Chr. 16:34). It can also mean a right acknowledgment of self before God in confessing sin (Lev. 26:40)

That’s right. Giving Thanks was all about praise to God and acknowledging Him.

~A psalm of thanksgiving.

1Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
3Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

— Psalm 100:1-5 NLT

…and isn’t that so like us in today’s world to take a biblical concept of giving thanks and praise to our creator and lose sight of the meaning of the word. It becomes more like a ‘bless you’ after someone sneezes. We say it, but do we really think about what it means? How often do we think about what it means to have thanksgiving?

What does it really mean to give thanks?

1Come, let us sing to the Lord!

Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

2Let us come to him with thanksgiving.

Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
~psalms 95:1-2

Through most of the psalms, thanksgiving is tied to what we would consider worship- singing, joyfulness, praise. I love how it is all about showing your thanks. It’s not about what we get, but rather giving praise with a thankful heart to God.

With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:

“He is so good!

His faithful love for Israel endures forever!”

Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.

~Ezra 3:11

I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,

for you have given me wisdom and strength.

You have told me what we asked of you

and revealed to us what the king demanded.

~Daniel 2:23

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

His faithful love endures forever.

Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation!

Gather and rescue us from among the nations,

so we can thank your holy name

and rejoice and praise you.

~1 Chronicals 16:34-35

Challenge for Thanksgiving

We are all about to get together for a big ‘ol feast. Many of us are stressed about getting the meal on the table, the mess we have to clean up or what crazy inappropriate thing is aunt sally going to say this year. It is easy for us to get consumed by the worry of it all. The hustle and bustle of all the holidays leave us wondering what we do it all for.

This Thanksgiving let’s reframe it a bit and switch it back to what the word thanksgiving means in the Old Testament.

  1. Reframe our brains- focus on the good, lovely, and faithful, and look toward the One who truly deserves all the thanks.

  2. And then let’s give thanks just as is says in the OT- with praise!

Happy Thanksgiving, mamas! Rejoice in the Lord and give Him praise. We are saved in Jesus’ name. We have so much to thank Him for.


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