THANKSGIVING EVE November 25, 2020
1 “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.3 And [the Lord] humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
Can we give thanks to God, even in the midst of a pandemic? We hear of doctors and nurses and working under great pressure, of ICU beds in some cities reaching limit—are we able to give thanks?
We give thanks that we are people of the First Article. The First Article of the Creed: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.
We are creatures, he is our Creator. So first, we give thanks as creatures thanking him who created them.
He made us and all creatures. He gives us our body and soul, eyes, ears, and all our members, our reason and our senses, and still takes care of them. He gives us all things of creation, including our clothing and shoes, house and home, wife and children, land, home, farm, business, and all else we can list in these things of the world our Lord has created and daily sustains for us.
Moses spoke to the Israelites of some of these gifts of creation the Lord provides his people, Deuteronomy 8:7:
The LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
We give thanks that all things of this creation, of our bodies and life, of our food and drink, of our home and property and wealth, are gifts generously given us by God the Father.
And in this thanksgiving, we pray to our God and Creator for his blessing upon those who are suffering and upon those who serve us for our health and medical care, and we pray for all families suffering any want of food or employment.
We are able to be a people giving thanks to our Father and Creator for all gifts of the First Article because we have been ransomed by the Son. That’s what we are given in the Creed’s Second Article:
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty …
God the Son has purchased us from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death, for us to be his own and live under him in his kingdom.
Especially in this time of uncertainty of the pandemic, some of the effects of our sin are painfully clear as we see the sickness and fear and death that original sin brought upon all creation.
So especially in time of a pandemic, we give thanks in knowing that all things of Jesus, all which he accomplished at the cross, and the victory he won at his resurrection—all these gifts of life are freely and abundantly given us by God the Son.
Moses, in bringing the Israelites to the Promised Land, reminded them of the gift of the Word. Deuteronomy 8:3:
[The Lord gives you] to know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
The Word is God the Son who redeemed the world, including you and me. And now the gifts of the Word are brought to us by the Holy Spirit. So we give thanks that we are people of the Third Article. The Third Article of the Creed:
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
The Holy Spirit is our advocate, our comforter, our encourager. He brings us the Word of Christ Jesus crucified. By this Gospel, he gathers us into the church.
In the church, he is constantly forgiving sins by the cleansing of Baptism, the proclamation of the cross, and the distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ to all his people.
So we give thanks that we are people of the Third Article, always being given the Word of life by the Holy Spirit, who bestows upon us all the gifts of our Lord Jesus, and brings us to the faith that lets us acknowledge God the Father as the maker of Heaven and Earth and the giver of every good gift.
We give thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
To this Name in which we are baptized, we are gathered each week to receive his gifts.
To this Name we commend ourselves, body and soul and all things, giving thanks for all our Lord’s gifts.
IN THE NAME OF JESUS.