A Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness


Psalm 65 (text); 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
November 22, 2015  • Download this sermon (PDF)

Congregation of Christ: Today, we take a break from our study of the Gospel of John, as we look forward to a great Christian tradition in America, Thanksgiving Day. Many people think of Thanksgiving Day only in terms of family get-together, or turkey, or football, or just an opportunity for relaxing on a four-day weekend.

Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)
Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)

But as Christians, how should we celebrate Thanksgiving Day? Its origins date back to the first settlers in the New World, most of whom came to escape persecution because of their religious views. On this day, we remember the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving Feast in October 1621 in Plimouth Colony, Massachusetts. Fifty surviving Pilgrims, together with 90 Wampanoag Indians, had a three-day harvest festival of wild turkey, duck, geese, venison, lobsters, clams, bass, corn, vegetables, and dried fruits. This was not a religious event, except for giving thanks for the food. Two years later, they held a day of Thanksgiving and prayer to God because of plenty of rain for their crops, and for the arrival of a supply ship.

The Bible, especially the Book of Psalms, is full of songs in praise of God. Our text today, Psalm 65, is one of them. King David wrote this song for the people of Israel to sing, most likely to thank God for a fruitful harvest after abundant rainfall. It could be that there was a drought, much like what California has experienced in the last three years. But then the rains came, and with it, a plentiful harvest of grain, olives, grapes, and water for their animals. Or maybe they sang this song during one of their harvest festivals, such as the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Pentecost. Singing this psalm enabled them to express deep gratitude to God.

So the Pilgrims are an example for us to emulate. They gave thanksgiving to God for his mercy in saving them from sin and persecution, and giving them traveling mercies through their perilous journey. They praised the Almighty God for his sovereign power over the ocean, the sun, winds, and the clouds. Lastly, they blessed God for giving them abundant provisions of food, shelter and clothing.

Today, our theme is: “A Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness” under three headings: (1) For His Mercy; (2) For His Power; and (3) For His Provisions.

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