By Donna Tsarnas
From the November 2016 issue of The Christian Science Journal
In the United States, Thanksgiving is a very special day—a day set aside for giving thanks—which also happens in several other countries, at different times. The Bible is filled with the joy and blessings that come from sincerely praising, glorifying, and giving thanks to God, and the necessity and naturalness of doing so. Many people also think of this day as a time to gather with family and friends. And then there are the Christian Scientists and others who look forward with joyous enthusiasm to the Thanksgiving service as the best part of the day. This service, which Mary Baker Eddy made provision for, includes testimonies given by Christian Scientists in Churches of Christ, Scientist, around the world. The Thanksgiving Day service can be a catalyst for some wonderfully special time spent in the sanctuary of quiet communion with God. It can turn out to be a day like no other, where the spiritual insights, revelations, and growth in grace are taken to new heights.
You will never feel alone on Thanksgiving when you are in quiet communion with God. Feeling His beneficent presence is deeply satisfying and stirs us to a greater love for all mankind. It’s clear throughout her writings that Mrs. Eddy felt the expression of gratitude was important. For example, she includes these words in the Manual of The Mother Church: “Gratitude and love should abide in every heart each day of all the years” (p.60).
Because we are in truth the children of God, expressing His love, it is innate for us to feel gratitude. Perhaps you have felt an unbidden sense of gratitude well up when witnessing or experiencing a Christian Science healing, or when hearing news of an inspiring resolution to a world, national, or community need.
Spending Thanksgiving Day in genuine communion and thanksgiving to God leads to new spiritual altitudes, and blessings. These new and higher views of thanksgiving and gratitude to God help us relate to and understand just a little bit more of why the Bible is filled with so much praise and glory to God. I love the expression of gratitude that exclaims the many reasons for gratitude in Psalm 136. It begins: “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (verse 1). And then the Psalmist has quite a bit to add to his list of God’s mercies!
Christ Jesus gave thanks before he raised Lazarus from the grave and before feeding the multitudes, as well as at the last supper.
Sincere gratitude for God lifts our thoughts above mere gratitude for the special things and events in our lives—or expressing gratitude with hopes of material gain—to a deeper sense of love for God and man.
Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving Day, trust that God will provide an opportunity to spend some special time with Him in gratitude and praise. Take advantage of it—it will bless your day!