Title: Thanksgiving, a Love Gift from God
Text: Luke 2:21-39
When the eighth day arrived after his birth, the child was named Jesus, the name given to Mary by the angel Gabriel months before he was born. Then when the days for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,” and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law.
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died.
Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God: God, you can now release your servant; release me in peace as you promised. With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation; it’s now out in the open for everyone to see: A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for your people Israel.
Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words.
Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, This child marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, a figure misunderstood and contradicted — the pain of a sword-thrust through you — But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are.
Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years 37 and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers.
At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.
When they finished everything required by God in the Law, they returned to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.
Truth: Learning to say thank you comes from God. Our greatest thank you should be to God for the gift of His son, Jesus.
Thoughts: Shortly after the birth of Jesus the first Thanksgiving came as Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus to the Temple complex to be identified or set apart for God. While there, during the ceremony, there were two godly people, Simeon and Anna, both faithful servants of God who recognized Jesus as the Messiah or Savior promised by God, and both offered prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Thanksgiving should be celebrated more than just one day a year. I do not believe it is a coincidence that Thanksgiving and Christmas are such linked holidays in our life. I pray you will come to realize that “thanksgiving” is a gift of God once you know who Jesus was then and is still, the Son of God born into this world so you can know God’s love for you. When we truly understand the meaning of offering “thanksgiving” to God, it will be a part of our daily prayers to God for all he does everyday.
Just as God is your Heavenly Father and you can be adopted into God’s family as a brother or sister of Jesus, God embraces the value of family. As you sit and eat your meal offer thanksgiving with your family. Remember in your prayer the value that God has placed upon the love of family, and give God the Father the thanks that is due to Him. There is no greater love this world will ever know!