I did a short word study this morning on the word Thanksgiving in the Bible. Here is what I found.
Thanksgiving is mentioned 32 times (I used the New Living Translation for this study).
I noticed 4 main themes:
- Sacrificial offerings – used 11 times
- Songs – used 14 times
- Prayer – used 6 times
- Declaration- used 1 time
That got me thinking – how much of my Thanksgiving holiday will revolve around those themes? In the Old Testament, thanksgiving was almost always shown by sacrificial offerings and/or singing to God. In the New Testament, it is most often associated with prayer to God. The main theme is God!
There is nothing wrong (and a lot that can be good) with family, football, and food. In fact I hope to enjoy all of these in the coming couple of days. But I wonder if we should also include honoring God with our voices in song and prayer, and with our finances in giving?
For some this is a discouraging, even potentially harmful season due to the battles of life.
I have been meeting with a group of men over the last year. Recently each of us put together a gratitude list. Many of these men have experienced loss. For them Thanksgiving may hold depression, loneliness, and despair. Some have shared that thoughts of suicide have been common in past holiday seasons. You might be able to relate. I have been there too.
Thankfulness can be an antidote for those challenged during this season. I would encourage you to start your own gratitude list as well. and share it with someone. You really never know what people are going through, and you may just be the lifeline that someone needs.
Note – I am not a mental healthcare professional or counselor. My observations are those of a layman. If you are having thoughts of suicide, or are struggling with depression, please don’t suffer alone. Help is available through hotlines, local healthcare providers, churches, or clinics.