“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:  be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalm 100:4)

          Two little phrases we taught our children when they were barely old enough to talk were “Please” and “Thank You.”  We felt these were necessary teachings for courtesy, manners and future life in general.  Oh, we may teach the importance of words or actions such as these, but if it is not heartfelt, it does not mean anything.  We are exhorted over and over in the   Scriptures to give thanks or to have a heart of thanksgiving.
          The word “thanksgiving” used in our opening text (Psalm 100:4) means “to extend the hand, to worship as with a choir, to show adoration.”  I believe that in order for a person to have thanksgiving towards God, he needs to know what God has done.  What has He done in your life that would cause you to give thanks?  It is sad, isn’t it, that so many people attempt to come before the Lord with unthankful hearts and sour dispositions?  Do we forget about the Lord?  Do we forget His blessings in our lives?  Do we acknowledge His presence, His provision, His protection and His power? Thanksgiving for the child of God should be as natural as breathing.  It really does not matter what kind of conflicts you have or what challenges and problems occur in your life, there is always something to thank the Lord for. 
        There are several interesting parallels associated with the word “thanksgiving.”  We would do well to not only observe these associations, but also put them into practice:

1.Singing and songs of praises are associated with thanksgiving.  “For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God” (Nehemiah 12:46).

2.Congregations would come together and into the presence of God with thanksgiving.  “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2).

3.Returning to the Lord was important in the practice of a thanksgiving service.  “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:17).

4.Prayer was a vital part of any thanksgiving service.  The service actually would begin with a season of prayer...giving thanks.  “And Mattaniah, the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer…” (Nehemiah 11:17).

5.Thanksgiving stirs, comforts, and encourages the soul.  “For the Lord shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3).

6.Thanksgiving will cause us to keep a vigilant eye on the things of the Lord.  “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).

          Be sure you know why you are giving thanks and why you are observing this special day.  Happy Thanksgiving!
                                                                                                                                                   Pastor H. Preston Parker