The first Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated on April 15, 1872 in thanks for the recovery of the future King Edward 7th from a serious illness. But it wasn’t until January 31, 1957 that Parliament issued a proclamation to fix permanently the second Monday in October as “a day of general Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.”
The Canadian government rightly recognized that we owe unending thanks to God for all that we have. More than polite manners, thanksgiving is about worship. At the heart of sin is a failure to honour and thank God, and instead to elevate self or other created things (Rom 1:21-23). Giving thanks is giving praise. It’s crediting God, and praising him for his goodness towards us. David proclaimed, “I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High” (Ps 9.1). The Psalms are packed with commands to give thanks to God. Paul instructs us to be “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5.19-20).
As you gather and feast with friends and family this weekend, look for the evidences of God’s grace in your life and give thanks from a generous and worshipful heart. God is not looking for empty words or nice manners, but a genuine heart of gratitude, which is the only acceptable response to his grace. Has God been good to you? Do you see his grace in your life? Has he shown you goodness and love? Are you forgiven? Then Give thanks.