Jn.7:37 – Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
What do you like about Thanksgiving? Could it be the time off to reflect, family gatherings, all the special food and fixings, or maybe just vegging out watching football or old movies. I love the special outreach food give-aways and watching the thankfulness on the guests faces as well as the happy church folks celebrating Thanksgiving by being a blessing to others. Thanksgiving is a part of our American heritage but it actually predates early America by many hundreds of years. The Feast of Tabernacles was the seven day feast (later it became eight days) celebrated by Israel every year after the exodus. It was a time to reflect and be thankful for God’s deliverance as well as His constant abundant supply for His people. Here is how Barclay describes the Feast of Tabernacles.
“It is sometimes called the Festival of the Ingathering; and it was the most popular festival of all. For that reason, it was sometimes called simply The Feast and sometimes The Festival of the Lord. It stood out above all others. The people called it ‘the season of our gladness’, for it marked the gathering in of all the harvests, since by this time the barley, the wheat and the grapes were all safely gathered in. As the law had it, it was to be celebrated ‘at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor’; it was to be kept ‘when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing-floor and your wine press’. It was not only thanksgiving for one harvest, it was glad thanksgiving for all the bounty of nature which made life possible and living happy. In Zechariah’s dream of the new world, it was this festival which was to be celebrated everywhere. Josephus called it ‘the holiest and the greatest festival among the Jews’. It was not only a time for the rich; it was laid down that the servant, the stranger, the widow and the poor were all to share in the universal joy.”
The American Christian really has a lot to be thankful for. Our earliest forefathers came to this land to escape religious oppression and to establish a place where everyone could worship as they please. That very basic freedom is being challenged today in our generation with the government trying to regulate our services and redefine what marriage is. Our government is also trying to rewrite history making our founding evil and removing the Christian influence which has shaped our destiny throughout our history. The church has been the salt and light throughout our American story, it is important that our lives still bring light and the flavor of Christ in our world. So go ahead and enjoy your time off, the family and food celebrations and even the football and movies. In the midst of all that remember the One Who brought us out of darkness, provides for us everyday, and gave us this special country to live in and enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving, let the seeds of awakening that lay dormant in our land began to sprout and become the final harvest in America.