Pastoral Perspectives

A Reason for Thanksgiving?

The month of November is often a time many would look forward to. Why? Well, it’s a time where the shopaholics amongst us wait anxiously for!

If you are wondering what I am talking about, there are two big sale events which happens on the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving Day in the US. Thanksgiving Day in the United States takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. The day right after is widely known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday follows three days after.

These two days traditionally mark the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. Many stores including online shopping giants like Amazon would usually offer their products at huge discounts!

Those living on our tiny dot of an island sure knows when to wait to get their hands on something new as we too have our fair share of never-ending sales on shopping platforms like Lazada and Shopee. They seemed to go on and on almost every month. We have our own 5.5 sale, 10.10 sale, 11.11 sale, 12.12 sale! See! They never seem to end!

I guess for our friends in the US, every Thanksgiving Day will be a day of much feasting followed by a weekend of crazy shopping and getting ready for the Christmas season.

For us, even though we don’t have a ‘Thanksgiving Day’ in our calendar, we can still make each day a thanksgiving in our lives. Perhaps, not the kind of thanksgiving where we celebrate over good food and wine.

Yes, these are great occasions too! But I am thinking about the thanksgiving in our hearts to God for everything He has given us – His mercies, His grace, and His love towards us!

Psalm 136 is an interesting Psalm. It has a total of 26 verses.

But I will just highlight one verse.

This is what Psalm 136 verse 1 says.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”

In the very first verse, we see that the Psalmist encourages God’s people to give thanks because God is good. And then he tells us that God’s faithful love endures forever.

What is interesting in the next 25 verses is that we see the Psalmist repeating himself quite a few times. We see him inviting God’s people to – “Give thanks to the Lord”, “Give thanks to the Lord” … for 12 times!

Give thanks to God for all of creation.

Give thanks to God for rescuing his people.

Give thanks to God for keeping them safe and for providing for them.

Not only does he give thanks to God, but he also repeats the promise that “God’s faithful love endures forever” a total of … make a guess – 15 times? No!

20 times? Good try. But here’s the answer.

He mentions the promise in every verse! So that means a total of 26 times!

Every line of the verse includes the promise – “His faithful love endures forever”.

Now what do you think the pastor is trying to do when he or she repeats something over the pulpit over and over again?

Well, it could mean two things.

One, the pastor wants you to remember something that is very important. It could be some important instruction from God’s Word that the pastor does not want you to forget.

Two, it could mean something more serious – your pastor might be losing his or her mind!

But I will think it’s usually the first reason that your pastor wants you to remember something very important from God’s Word.

In Psalm 136, the writer wants us to remember to give thanks to God and to remember that His faithful love endures forever. What does he mean when he says ‘God’s faithful love endures forever’?

It means His love for us remains unchanged. It means His love for us continues on and on – never failing and will always be there.

As November comes to a close, this usually means the year is coming to an end where we look forward to going for holidays and getting ready for the Christmas season of shopping and spending time with family and friends.

During our festive busyness, let us remember to be thankful to God for all that we have each day. Is there a reason for thanksgiving in our hearts? Am sure we can think of many things to give thanks to God for.

And even if we can’t think of any now, we are reminded again this Christmas season – of God’s great love for us through the giving of His Son Jesus who came to be among us two thousand years ago and to ultimately give His life to rescue us.

Despite all that we see in our present broken fallen world, whatever season of life we may be in this moment, may we continue to put our trust and hope in God, and be grateful and thankful because He is good and His faithful love endures forever.

This is His promise! And that’s a real good reason to be thankful!