The Beauty of Giving Thanks by Lane Jordan Burday

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

The first Thanksgiving happened long ago and it’s easy to forget how it began. It began when a group of committed Christians who were facing persecution in Europe for their faith decided to sail across dangerous waters to a new land.

The first winter there, 44 of the original 102 colonists died. Fortunately, the next summer’s crop brought hope and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621 be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.

These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them. He helped them find twenty acres of cleared land. They were also grateful there were no hostile Native Americans in that area, thankful for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Native Americans in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than eight Native Americans (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer. What an example for us!

From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November in 1863 “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and a legal holiday.

As you can see, at one time our national government accepted the fact that God is the One who gives blessings to His children. How thankful I am for the Presidents of the past to recognize Thanksgiving!

Giving thanks and being grateful are essential elements of our faith.

In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. And thanksgiving should always be a part of our prayers, as the verse above shows.

We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life, there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for.

I pray you will rejoice with your heart and soul with great gratitude and thanksgiving to the God Who gave us His Son, Jesus, and gave us His Holy Spirit to live with us and guide us every day. When you do, your heart will turn toward joy rather than sadness.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).


Lane P. Jordan is the best-selling and award-winning author of over ten books.

Find her latest fiction book Evangeline, based on the story of Esther, on Amazon, as well as her books on becoming more organized.  She is an international speaker, life coach, Bible teacher for over 20 years, writer, and artist. She has served as Associate Producer for the program In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley and is also a part of the Pearls of Promise Ministries team. You can find her at:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.