S-1520 Thanksgiving Day 11/26/15 Hymns: 785; 805; (S) 895; L.S.#569; #637;(C) #892
Texts: Exodus 3:1-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Matthew 6:24-34
Theme: “Why Should I Be Thankful?” Ex. 3:7-8
Question: “Is Thanksgiving observed only today, or every day?” (10th sermon at Trinity).
Blessed Thanksgiving Day to each and every one of you saints in Christ. The text for our homily today is from the O.T. lesson: “The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—’” (EX. 3:7-8).
In Nomine Iesu
Once again we find ourselves gathering together in God’s house to observe and celebrate Thanksgiving Day as a nation, as a family and as a family of believers. But why should I be thankful? Do I have any reasons to give thanks to the Lord this year?
We are told by the many cards, calendars, different companies and our country to celebrate it. And amazingly whether we are believers or unbelievers, in church or un-churched, most people do take time to celebrate Thanksgiving as a day of Turkey, football and family get together.
But would I be thankful to God if there was a fire, famine, and failures in my life? Would I be thankful to God if there was death, drought and disaster in my home? Would I be thankful to God if there were complications, conflicts or cancer in my family?
Before you answer, review your life and answer the question honestly. Isn’t true that most often than not, we thank God when He answers the prayers as we think He should, and when He doesn’t, we are not as thankful. Most of the time, we are forgetful of all of the blessings of physical and spiritual that the good and gracious Lord gives us.
Abraham Lincoln, president during the bloody Civil War, called for a National Day of Thanksgiving during a dark and dreary hour. He called upon the Citizens of the Nation to be thankful for the blessings of God, even during time of conflict.
And indeed we should. Even in the discourse that is before us today between God and Moses, we learn the reasons we should be thankful to the Lord. Listen once more to the voice of God as recorded by Moses: “The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—’”
These words of Moses remind us on this National Thanksgiving Day that our loving and caring God is still concerned about us as He was with the Israelite. This text has so much to offer us today: it describes the Judge of the world who was moved with compassion at what He saw and what He heard, that He rises from His Throne—not to issue a command to the armies of angels that surround Him to fly to the relief of His suffering children—but to come down from heaven, in His own person, in order to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians. Glory to God for this precious record of His power and goodness: “let all the nations of the earth praise Him” (Ps. 67:3, 5).
Isn’t amazing that God would hear the prayers of His sinful people? Isn’t amazing that He comes down to deliver them? Certainly not! For He is a caring and compassionate God and who loves His people very much.
Indeed, we have every reason to be thankful to the Lord even today. Today, years later we continue togather as a Nation to count the blessings of God upon our lives and thus it is a joy to thank Him for all He has done and continues to do.
Of all the blessings that we enjoy Scripture reminds us to be thankful for the Day of Resurrection.
As we remember just how far we have fallen from God’s grace and just how much that our Lord would do to cover that sin, we truly have the ultimate reason to be thankful. And again, it is not about what we have done. It is all about what God had done for you in Jesus Christ. Just as Israel was delivered from Egyptian slavery by the mighty hand and outstretched arm of the God who remembered them and acted, so are we just as miraculously delivered. Jesus Christ’s mighty hand was evident at the cross. There our Lord manifested His outstretched arm on the cross of Calvary. There He delivered you. Pierced Flesh. Blood Shed. A Life Sacrificed. All of these actions of our good and gracious Lord sets us free from the bondage to sin. This freedom is the greatest gift that we can remember on this National Day of Thanksgiving.
Why should I be thankful? Here are but few reasons. You may write them down in your bulletin:
- Pardon for the past. On account of Christ’s suffering and death, all of our sins have been forgiven. For the sake of the Sin-bearer God has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West (Ps. 103:12).
- Power for the present. The Lord God through His precious Word and Sacrament empowers us to meet the challenges of today. Scripture assures us that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. God’s power makes solid rocks of those who are by nature wobbly and flimsy.
- Promise for the future. Through the One who has come down the Sin-Bearer, the heaven-sent Savior; God promises to be with us always, “to the very end of the age” (Mt. 28:20b). God’s promise of forgiveness and His outstretched hand of goodness and grace keep us mindful we are not going to dwell here for ever, but have the Promised Land awaiting us.
- Peace forever. Because Christ Jesus stretched His mighty hands on the cross of Calvary, He restored the broken relationship between man and God and brought it back to the day it was before the fall in the Garden of Eden. For Christ’s sake we have peace with God and man.
- Personal relationship with Jesus. And now we the recipients of God’s grace have a personal relationship with our blessed Savior.
Jesus is the reason we can give thanks as individuals, as a nation and as a church. Why should you give thanks? That is the wrong question. A better question is, “WHY SHOULDN’T YOU GIVE THANKS?”
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we join the throng and say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for H is good; His love endures forever” (Ps. 107:1) Amen.
Now the peace of God…
SOLI DEO GLORIA