This is a season of reflection. Indeed, this was true of those early Pilgrims who started this great American tradition we call Thanksgiving. I thought I read somewhere that they even played a game of football with the Indians they invited over for the feast.
Thanksgiving is more than a day off. It is more than eating mashed potatoes and gravy, watching football, and taking a wonderful turkey-induced nap.Thanksgiving is a pervasive and essential concept in Scripture. And although it is good to set aside a Thursday each November to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving, the Scriptures have more to say about giving thanks than one day a year can handle.
One surprising aspect of thanksgiving is that it’s for all circumstances, not just one big meal a year. Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).Giving thanks in all circumstances is especially difficult while undergoing suffering. How can we be thankful when there’s something that hurts so much? We can give thanks in the midst of suffering because it is meant to enlarge our faith, not as punishment (2 Corinthians 4:17–18), and because it is redemptive, not random.Our suffering is not punishment for our sin — because Christ has borne our punishment in our place (Romans 3:25). The demands of justice have been met. And our suffering is not random — because God is sovereign over it, and through it God is conforming us in the image of his Son (Romans 8:28–29).
We would like to personally invite you and your family to attend our Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 23rd, beginning at 6:00 PM at the ICANJ Campus. This is a wonderful time to connect with the ICANJ Community and we hope you will join us this year!