Thanksgiving is not a Bible holiday, but giving thanks this day is biblical

by Billy Graham, |
MY HOPE 2014

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Unlike Christmas and Easter (which commemorate the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus), our annual celebration of Thanksgiving doesn't come directly from a specific event in the Bible.

But it does come indirectly from the Bible — because every year God's people came together to thank God for His blessings. This happened more than once during the year — for example, at the beginning of the harvest, and then again at the end of the harvest season. It also happened on special occasions, such as after they had gained victory over their enemies. The Psalmist declared, "The Lord is my strength and my shield.... I will give thanks to him in song" (Psalm 28:7).

It's important to set aside time to reflect on God's goodness to us — which is what we all should do as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year. No matter what you might be going through right now, God has blessed you far more than you probably imagine — not just with material goods, but with family, with freedom and with the ability to enjoy His gifts. The Bible says, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Most of all, God has blessed us by giving us the privilege of knowing Him and walking with Him every day. He did this by sending His Son into the world to die for our sins. As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, may you celebrate the greatest gift of all by inviting Jesus Christ to come into your life. Then thank God for all His blessings — not just today, but every day throughout the year.

Billy Graham has preached in person and through technology to hundreds of millions around the world, and millions have come to know Christ through his evangelistic ministry. He originally published this Thanksgiving message in 2012.