Psa. 116:12,13,&17 What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the LORD. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the LORD.
Have you ever thought about the atmosphere in the temple in Jerusalem? It was a very special place with the sounds and smells of worship and sacrifice. There was the sounds of animals, the bleating of the sheep, and the mooing of the cows. There was the sounds of the musicians and the singing of the levites. There was also the smells, the smell of incense and the smell of roasted meat filled the air. Jerusalem was constantly filled with these festival sounds and smells. The sounds and smells of holiday celebration filled the temple all year round, it was a happy place for the children of Israel to visit throughout their lives.
One of the offerings that was brought before the Lord was a thank offering. It was characterized by confessing before the Lord His goodness, His power, and His mercy. This is the idea Paul had in mind when he wrote in Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” As we come before the Lord, we confess to His name, His goodness, His power, and His mercy.
Thanksgiving Day reminds me of the Jewish festivals. These festivals were characterized by worship, preaching, celebration in singing and worship, and always plenty of good food. There was always one requirement that the Lord made for each of these festivals. You were required to celebrate before the Lord with joy. There could be no sadness at the Lord’s thanksgiving celebrations.
This Thanksgiving, people all over America are celebrating with their families. Many people will be with loved ones they only see on special occasions. This is a very special time. Just like the temple, there will be all sorts of sounds and smells at these family gatherings. There will be music, laughter, and the delightful smells of our Thanksgiving feast. There is nothing quite like it. Israel was the only nation on earth that had these Thanksgiving celebrations to worship and give thanks to their great Jehovah God. In the same way, Thanksgiving is uniquely American. Each year we remember what the Lord has done in our lives and we remember what He has done throughout history for our nation. We have a spiritual legacy, thankfully we can still embrace and celebrate our heritage.
This year as you gather with your family, stop and observe the sounds and smells of that day. Maybe for a moment you can be transported in time to those special days of joy in Jerusalem. Maybe if you close your eyes and listen and smell you can be transported to that first American Thanksgiving as our forefathers gave thanks to the Lord for their new land. Oh yeah, remember the Lord’s command, everyone has to be happy at His celebration.