Thanksgiving: Did You Know?
This week, we will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday. I will read a short Thanksgiving proclamation and prayer on that day’s post, then lead in communion. I encourage you to take 8-10 minutes and join me; I believe it will enrich your Thanksgiving celebration. Today I want to share some thoughts regarding a woefully understood, yet immeasurably important, subject, to help prepare you for this important time. Hint: Thanksgiving is linked to the Lord’s Table.
The word “grace” is one of the most important terms in our language. I’ll give its technical definition momentarily, but in its broader application, “grace” encapsulates: the incarnation of Christ (becoming a human), Messiah’s sufferings, the gift of our rebirth into God’s family, and every benefit we receive from these actions. We neither earned nor deserved any of these blessings; they are ours only through God’s grace, His “unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15), bestowed on us from His passionate love. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
“Grace” is translated from the Greek word charis(1), an important word also meaning “goodwill, loving-kindness, or favor.” It is also translated “thanks,” the response offered for benefits or favor.(2)
“Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament defines this specifically New Testament use of grace (charis) as the ‘spontaneous act of God that came from the infinite love in His heart, in which He stepped down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself the guilt and penalty of human sin, thus satisfying His justice, maintaining His government, and making possible the bestowal of salvation upon the sinner who receives it by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who became a Sin-offering for him on the Cross’”(3) Wow!
“The New Testament also employs these related Greek words: charizomai, ‘to give graciously’(4); and charisma, ‘a gift that is graciously given.’(5) For example, in 1 Corinthians 12:4, 9, 28, 30, and 31, the term charisma features prominently in Paul’s teaching about spiritual gifts. Paul stresses that the gifts of the Spirit are gifts of God’s grace. These spiritual ‘grace gifts’ are not developed through natural talent, but instead bestowed upon believers by God. In The Dynamics of Spiritual Gifts, William McRae defines a spiritual gift as ‘a divine endowment of a special ability for service upon a member of the body of Christ’”(6)
Mary and the Church
Charis was the root word (charitoo)(7) used by Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:28, telling her she was “highly favored.” Indeed! The honor of being entrusted to carry Christ in her womb, birth the Savior of the world, and then nurture Him for Yahweh, was truly immeasurable favor. Yet, the same word is used one other time in Scripture, Ephesians 1:6, when describing the great favor granted to us as believers, who also now carry Christ in our spiritual wombs! God is in us!!! The fountain of life, the breath of God, the nature of God Himself is in us in the person of Christ. That is charis, grace.
Now, would it surprise you if I said that charis is also the root word for “thanksgiving”? Thanksgiving, or “the giving of thanks,” is from the Greek word eucharistia. The word could be translated “giving thanks for our grace gifts.” When America set aside a day “of public Thanksgiving and Prayer” to “Almighty God,” as George Washington stated in his official proclamation (which I will include in Thursday’s post), it was to thank God for His incomparable benefits of grace through His Son, Jesus Christ! We aren’t simply giving thanks for the physical freedom, prosperity, and abundance we enjoy in this great nation; we are acknowledging that we enjoy these things because of the grace of God and the gift of His Son!
And for the icing on the cake, or should we say the stuffing in the turkey, this Greek word for Thanksgiving (eucharistia) is also the word for the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table: Communion. The bread and wine are called the Eucharist, not just by Catholics but also by many evangelicals, because it’s a word Jesus used when initiating the meal: “when He had given thanks” (eucharisteo), He then gave the disciples the bread and wine, which represented His body and blood (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Thanksgiving originated at the Last Supper, when God’s-grace-meal was inaugurated!
On Thursday, when sharing the meal with family and friends, remember that Thanksgiving is rooted in the Lord’s Table, Communion, through which we celebrate God’s “grace gift” of His Son to us.
Join me on Thursday, as we celebrate Communion, the first Thanksgiving meal; then enjoy another Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.
Pray with me:
Father, we thank You for Your unspeakable gift, Yeshua, and His sacrifice. Through Him, we have been welcomed into Your family, made Your heirs and His joint-heirs. As we Americans celebrate our many blessings this week, we remember that these blessings come through this grace-gift. Thank You!
And as we take time to acknowledge and thank You, we also give thanks for the grace-awakening that has begun. Thank You for the millions of grace-salvations coming soon, the grace-returning of prodigals, the grace-deliverances, the grace-miracles, and the grace-reset of America. Thank You for the grace-shaking, the grace-cleansing, and the grace-healing of our land. As we eat the grace-meal on Thursday, we will remember that it is a celebration of Your abounding grace!
We will also remember that Thanksgiving isn’t just America’s meal; this is the world’s meal. Thank You for saving a billion souls in the great grace-harvest that has begun. Thank You for a deluge of grace in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North and South America. Pour it out! Flood the earth with grace! Signs, wonders, miracles, dreams, visions, deliverances, radical salvations - all poured out by the Spirit of grace! We celebrate this with You! In Yeshua’s name. Amen.
We decree that every good and perfect gift is from the Father through Christ, with whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning (James 1:17).
Click the link below to watch the video:
James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no.5485.
James Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, Vol 21 (Eerdmans, 1997), pp. 138–139.
Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, ref no. 5483.
Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, ref no. 5486.
William McRae, The Dynamics of Spiritual Gifts (Zondervan, 1976), p. 18.
Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, ref no. 5487.