From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
It is sad to see traditions replaced with various forms of entertainment and business. The pilgrims exemplified the spirit of thanksgiving to God by demonstrating their hospitality with others and offering prayers to the Giver of all things. Thanksgiving, though, is not just an American holiday or a one-day-a-year celebration.
It is the custom of many Christians to bow their heads and give thanks for the food that has been placed before them. While the custom is not intended to grandstand, it is a powerful testimony to those who may watch in awe as a family humbles themselves before the Lord with a word of praise. Exemplify this and let children watch the results of having thankful hearts. Invite those who may be lonely, without family or home, into your tradition.
Thanksgiving is also a part of the most intimate relationship between us and God. Yet there are thousands today who are not thankful. Individuals are not thankful, nor are we thankful as a nation. Yet because we may be in debt to our friends, we thank them for doing for us what we desired or needed. But because of the pride and arrogance of our hearts, we take from God, not even acknowledging how deeply indebted we are to Him.
Thanksgiving is a recognition of debt that cannot be repaid. We express thanks when we are not able to reimburse the giver. When thanksgiving is filled with true meaning and not just a polite “thank you,” it displays and recognizes our complete dependence upon God.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)