Pilgrims and Native Americans in Massachusetts held the first Thanksgiving celebration in the New World in 1621.

President George Washington issued a proclamation creating the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the federal government in 1789. On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father” to be celebrated on the fourth Thanksgiving in November, and the official holiday of Thanksgiving was enshrined.

Hopefully, for Christians, Thanksgiving is more than a single day of celebration. It is a lifestyle, a way of life. We are told in I Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  

Pray without ceasing. A major part of prayer is thanking God. So, praying without ceasing encompasses thanking without ceasing.

Is this even possible? Yes. Is it easy? Not always.

Thanksgiving means THANKSLIVING.

When we give thanks, we acknowledge the goodness of God. We recognize that our joy comes from the Lord, not from our circumstances. By giving thanks, we focus on what we have rather than what we wish we had. Our hearts experience joy, and real thanksgiving happens.

During this season of Thanksgiving, we should thank God for His provision and His plans for us even when we do not understand all of our circumstances. As you count your blessings, you cannot help but be overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace. 

There is an old Southern hymn that sings of thanksgiving as a lifestyle. 

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
And you are discouraged thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God has done.
Count your blessings.  Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings see what God has done.

And the fruits from counting your blessings do not mean just counting them on Thanksgiving Day, but on any day. Every day.

Thanksgiving all year round. 

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected]

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