Celebrating and Giving Thanks
I attended a Service of Songs yesterday for a friend who had just lost her father. It was a time of celebration and giving of thanks for a life well spent. The mourning daughter said, “I am not here to mourn. I am here to celebrate and rejoice. I am here to celebrate my Dad because he lived a good life. I am here to give thanks to my Dad because he gave us a good life”. She was crying and celebrating and giving thanks … all at the same time!
It is good to give thanks. It is good to celebrate.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
In that verse, prayer is encased within the bookmarks of giving thanks and rejoicing. As much as God wants us to pray, I believe He wants us to do more of rejoicing and giving of thanks. And so Today, I want to talk about Celebrating and Giving Thanks.
According to William Ward, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings”.
Tomorrow in Canada is Thanksgiving Day. Canada has a Rich History of Thanksgiving. In Canada & North America, Thanksgiving did not start in the church. Rather, Thanksgiving started among people, some who never knew God. Thanksgiving started among people who recognized that there is a power greater than they at work, making it possible for them to achieve.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, even before the Europeans settled in Canada, the First Nations held celebrations before harvest to guarantee a good harvest. There are a few lessons to learn from this:
- The best way to prepare to receive is to celebrate and thank God while waiting to receive
- While expecting and waiting, give thanks to God
- Giving thanks while waiting will prepare your heart to receive
- Giving thanks while waiting is sign of faith in the God who is able to make your joy full
- Giving thanks while waiting will prevent anxiety and keep your heart in perfect peace
In 1578, the 1st thing the European settlers did in Newfoundland was to have a party of salted beef, cookies and mashed peas. This was in celebration of their safe arrival to North America. They had communion and formally expressed thanks to God. The Captain of ship, Robert Wolfall, preached the sermon on that day and expressed thanks to God for their miraculous deliverance through their journey
In 1606, there was a severe scurvy epidemic in Port Royal, NS. To prevent its spread, the settlers started a series of rotating feasts called the order of good cheer; they made as such noise as possible, and celebrated life, to drive away death!
In 1621, because of the 1st harvest by the pilgrims in Massachusetts, they celebrated the 1st American Thanksgiving.
In 1750, in Halifax turkey introduced; also in Halifax, in 1763, at the end of the 7 years war, a whole day was set aside to give Thanks.
And from there, Thanksgiving spread to the rest of North America
Canadians have a rich history of giving thanks. For those who do know God, they gave Him thanks. For those who never heard of God, they gave thanks to the “Great One” … the One they referred to as the God of the spirits
Celebration and Thanksgivings go together. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to celebrate. We need to continually celebrate life, rather than being so busy living we do not pause to smell the roses and appreciate life.
It is good to celebrate here on earth because there is no celebration in the grave.
Let us Celebrate ourselves. Celebrate our achievements – both big and small. Celebrate our birthdays, and anniversaries. We must celebrate while you are travelling, and not only after we have arrived.
GOD WANTS YOU TO CELEBRATE!!!
In Physics we learn about potential energy, kinetic energy, photovoltaic energy, etc. Thanksgiving and Celebration also releases energy. Thanksgiving is energy of the spirit. God is a Spirit and giving thanks is a spiritual activity. When you say Thank You and Celebrate you are releasing a spiritual energy into your atmosphere.
Giving thanks and celebrating is good. It opens heavens for you, and releases spiritual energy to work for you. It opens your heart and enlarges your heart to receive the fullness and the abundance God has for you
As you leave here today find a reason to say Thank you to someone … to anyone … to everyone. Say Thanks You to your parents, your spouse, your children; say Thank You to your God.
Find an excuse to celebrate. Take someone out to Tim Horton’s and celebrate. Celebrate their little achievements. Celebrate your health. Celebrate the peace of this land
During the Service of Songs, my friend was celebrating because she knew her father was in heaven. Heaven is the place of perpetual celebration. Heaven is the only place where there is no pain, no sickness, no sin, no sorrow. She was celebrating because she knew her father was in perpetual celebration. She said, “If you offer my father today the opportunity to come back, he will say No!”
ARE YOU BORN AGAIN? That is the only guarantee that you will celebrate here and celebrate in the life after. If you are not Born Again, then repeat this prayer:
“Today, Jesus, Son of God, I receive you in my heart, as my Saviour and my Lord. Forgive me of all my sins and wash me clean. Write my name in the Book of Life. Fill my life with celebration! Thank you, Jesus. Amen”
We are grateful to You Lord Jesus for giving us so many reasons to give thanks and celebrate. We are grateful for the abundance we continue to receive from You. We are grateful for our health, the joy in our heart, the peace in our home and land. We are grateful for all we are yet to receive. We are grateful for all we will never receive. We appreciate You Our Lord and Our God. Thank You for everything! Amen.