Dearly Beloved Brethren,

Why Thanksgiving Sunday?

We commemorate Thanksgiving Sunday today to follow the good tradition of the Pilgrims who left Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620. Their destination? The New World. Although filled with uncertainty and peril, it offered both civil and religious liberty. For over two months, the 102 passengers braved the harsh elements of a vast storm-tossed sea. Finally, with firm purpose and a reliance on Divine Providence, the cry of “Land” was heard.

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. This was America’s first Thanksgiving Festival.

What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? Psalm 116:12

The Psalmist asked himself this question before the Lord. Today, being Thanksgiving Sunday, we must not only ask this question but answer it before the Lord. None of us can deny the great blessings and benefits the Lord has bestowed on us. The greatest Gift is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Let me share to you the 4 answers the Psalmist gave in response to his own question in verse 12. The answers show a grateful and thankful heart. How about you today? Can you tell the Lord the same answers from your heart?

1. I love the Lord (v.1)

We must declare our love for God because He first loves us. Our love to God ought to be in word and deed. We must love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

2. I will walk before the Lord (v.9)

As a grateful child of God, we delight to walk with the Lord and not walk with the world. We will show it by our daily Quiet Time to read God’s Word and pray to Him every day. We want to walk so close to God that we will never stray from Him.

3. I will take the cup of salvation (v.13)

This is to proclaim the salvation message of God. When we are saved, we cannot keep quiet. We must tell others that Jesus is the only Saviour for sinners. We will invite them to Gospel meeting and give them Gospel tracts to read. We are saved out of darkness into light, and surely we must shine forth as lights for Jesus now!

4. I will pay my vows unto the Lord (v.14)

Have we forgotten our vows to the Lord now that we are well and blessed? Have we forgotten the promise made to follow and serve our Lord Jesus Christ all our lives? Let us never be ungrateful people of God. God has never failed us nor forsaken us. He has always heard our prayers. He has always been our Guide in life. Pay your vows before the Lord as His thankful child.

Elder John Leong