Column by Linda Ross who works with the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Connecticut.
The Church of Christ, Scientist, is the only denomination in the United States that observes Thanksgiving as a religious holiday. The holiday is celebrated with church services, specially published Bible lessons, and personal healing testimonials.
Thanksgiving. The pilgrims named this celebration of survival, harvest and helpful Native American friends with a concept mentioned 27 times in the Bible. William Bradford recognized this spiritual term when as new governor of colonial Plymouth, said of that first Thanksgiving, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled has shown unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of God have all the praise.”
Jesus knew thanksgiving as a key to effective prayer. He faced an impossible task. Four thousand men plus their families had followed and listened to Jesus for three days in the wilderness. They were hungry, having exhausted what food they had brought with them. He couldn’t send them away without something to sustain them in their travels home. Jesus took what food his disciples had left, seven loaves of bread and a few fish. And he gave thanks. And all then ate until they were satisfied, leaving leftovers.
I’m sure many of us could relate something in our own experience or a friend’s where finding gratitude helped to leap frog over something impossible to an unexpected good outcome. A passage that gives a helpful perspective here, written by Mary Baker Eddy in her work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.”
Eddy discovered that gratitude that is lived results in prayer that heals. In fact she saw so much evidence of this, the church she founded not only has a Sunday Service, but a Wednesday evening testimony meeting where people can express their gratitude. On Thanksgiving Day, after my turkey is in the oven, you will find my husband and me at our local Christian Science church’s service commemorating gratitude’s healing results. What a lift it gives to the morning and to our entire day.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, happy Thanks – Living!