The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

By on November 23, 2011
woman with arms open looking out over sea

By Carol Doyel –

We all love Thanksgiving and all that it represents; the dinner, family gathering together, the turkey, the beauty of a fall day, but what is the true meaning of thanksgiving? Most of us know something about the history of Thanksgiving and how it came to be that we celebrate this holiday, but I think we tent to associate it with more as a time to eat, drink and be merry…and for my husband – football!

In the hustle and bustle of preparing for the meal and the things we’ve come to love about Thanksgiving we may forget to take time to honor the Lord and to thank Him for the things we have to be thankful for.  One that comes to mind is our Christian heritage and our humble beginnings as a nation, and the blessings and freedoms that we experience as citizens of this great nation, the United States of America.

fall scents for your home

In the following excerpt found at, ChristianAnswers.net, we learn about the first Thanksgiving Festival.  A celebration to thank God for all that He had done, for the fellowship they had with the native people, and the blessings and fruit of the land. The article is titled, “What is the origin of America’s annual Thanksgiving Day?”:

Arriving in Massachusetts in late November, the Pilgrims sought a suitable landing place. On December 11, just before disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they signed the “Mayflower Compact”—America’s first document of civil government and the first to introduce self-government.

After a prayer service, the Pilgrims began building hasty shelters. However, unprepared for the starvation and sickness of a harsh New England winter, nearly half died before spring. Yet, persevering in prayer, and assisted by helpful Indians, they reaped a bountiful harvest the following summer.

The grateful Pilgrims then declared a three-day feast, starting on December 13, 1621, to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends. While this was not the first Thanksgiving in America (thanksgiving services were held in Virginia as early as 1607), it was America’s first Thanksgiving Festival.

God is a god of traditions, family, and celebrations or as they are often referred to in the Old Testament, Festivals. The Hebrews understood the importance of honoring God by celebrating the festivals that the Lord commanded them to keep throughout the ages. Although, Thanksgiving is not included in one of the festivals mentioned in the Bible, there is something powerful about the act of being thankful and “thanksgiving.”

As a matter of fact, the Word of God tells us in Psalm 100:4-5 that we: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving. And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations.”

The sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise ushers us into the gates and courts of the Lord; into His presence. King David of Israel was considered “a man after God’s own heart.” King David recognized the blessings of the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving as quoted in Psalm:107:21-22: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.”

Prior to the act of this new sacrifice the Hebrews had made animal sacrifices, but the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving is now something that we are instructed to do as New Testament Christians, as we read in Hebrews:13:10-14:

We have an altar from which those who serves the tabernacle. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

May we like the pilgrims, celebrate not just one day with turkey, pumpkin pie and football, but may this Thanksgiving be a celebration, a festival of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord our God for all that we have to be thankful for this year!

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 26+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren.  They currently reside in southern CA. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

About Carol Doyel

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of nearly 30 years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern California. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

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The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving