This Thanksgiving, as you gather around the dinner table with your friends and family, consider reading aloud some biblical reflections on the topic of thanksgiving. We hope that these 5 Scripture passages and corresponding quotations will stir your heart to gratitude as you share a meal with friends and family, thanking God for his good gifts.
1 Corinthians 4:7
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Gratitude is the proper response to an abundance of gifts. Gratitude is the posture of the soul that most readily increases receptivity. Gratitude demands humility, since only those who acknowledge their dependence, their need, and their delight in the goodness and kindness of another can be grateful. Give thanks always and for everything. And be specific.
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
Thanking God together is an effective guard against ingratitude. On our own, we may be tempted to forget, to take for granted, and to ignore the God from whom every good and perfect gift comes (James 1:17). On our own, we may fall into the ways of the ungodly, who do not “honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Rom. 1:21). Together, though, surrounded by the thanks of others, we join in and are thankful.
Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
One reason we don’t give thanks ‘with joy’ is that we know so little of the profound spiritual blessings that God has provided for us in Jesus. In Colossians 1:12–14 Paul cites three stunning gifts from God, all ours because of what Jesus has accomplished on our behalf. Meditate upon them, and rejoice with thanksgiving.
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The early Christian church was a rejoicing, praising church that is filled with thanksgiving, magnifying the grace and glory of God. They were a thankful people. But why was this? . . . What is a Christian? Well, Christians are men and women who know that they are what they are by the grace of God. Their sins are forgiven. Why? . . . Christians know that they owe everything to the grace of God in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They have received it all as a free gift . . . Now if you can believe a thing like that and not feel grateful and thankful, then I do not understand you. It is impossible.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Does gratitude characterize your thoughts of God? Thankfulness is a good test of your faith. Its absence demonstrates that your faith is more lip service than experiential knowledge. Your days, whether easy or difficult, should be filled with thanksgiving because while life changes drastically, your God remains the same forever. He is constant—constantly good, loving, and faithful.
Here are some questions designed to spark not only conversation, but also dialogue relevant to the season.
Though Thanksgiving is not a traditional Christian holiday, it's deeply rooted in biblical principles. Learn more about this beloved American celebration.
Use this prayer as a guide as you lead your family at the table or as spend time in personal prayer this Thanksgiving.