How To Observe Thanksgiving


By Michael D. O’Neal
Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church
Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Neh. 12:1-8

Text: Neh. 12:8

Nehemiah 12:8 Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren.

Introduction: What does Thanksgiving mean to you? To many Americans, it means nothing more than overstuffing themselves with food:

Twas the Night of Thanksgiving

Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn’t sleep
I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned — the dark meat and white,
but I fought the temptation with all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation,
the thought of a snack became infatuation.

So, I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door
and gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.

I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie

But, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees ….
happy eating to all — pass the cranberries, please!

(Author Unknown)

Thanksgiving was proclaimed by George Washington for Nov. 26, 1789. The custom was revived by Lincoln in 1863. The present custom of the fourth Thursday in November was set by a joint resolution of Congress in 1941. It commemorates the harvest of the Plymouth Colony in 1621, following a winter of great hardship.

Thanksgiving is as close to a “Christian” holiday as any holiday Americans celebrate. Surely Christians should observe Thanksgiving differently than do lost American citizens!

In our scripture reading we see that one or more men were appointed over the thanksgiving. As your pastor, I want to give you a few pointers this morning for celebrating Thanksgiving.


Nehemiah 12:46 For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.

A. Our Thanksgiving should be marked by
spiritual singing
1. In contrast with fleshy rock music
(Contemporary Christian Music)
2. In contrast with fleshy country-
western music
(Southern Gospel Music)
3. It should stimulate our spirit to
worship and serve God.

B. Our Thanksgiving should be marked by
scriptural singing
1. I realize that not every word or every
phrase of any hymn will match what we
believe about every doctrine in the Bible.
2. However, we should endeavor to accept
and use only good, scriptural hymns and

C. Our Thanksgiving should be marked by
sincere singing
1. Our songs should be from the heart.
2. They should be done TO the Lord and for
the edification of others.
3. They should NOT be a performance for the
praise of men! I HATE it when people clap
after someone has sung a song of praise to
the Lord. That kind of applause is from


Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

A. Notice the prominence of thanksgiving
1. “in EVERY thing … with thanksgiving”
2. I know that, like Rom. 8:28, this is a tough
verse to apply sometimes, but we should try!

B. Notice the prayer of thanksgiving
1. “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving”
2. This holiday has too much TURKEY and too little

C. Notice the pursuit in thanksgiving
1. “SUPPLICATION with thanksgiving let your
REQUESTS be made known unto God.”

D. Notice the peace of thanksgiving
1. “and the peace of God … shall keep your
hearts and minds”


Psalms 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

A. We let us remind ourselves to sacrifice
our bodies
1. See Rom. 12:1-2
2. Reasonable service includes presenting
our bodies as a living sacrifice!

B. We let us remind ourselves to sacrifice
our belongings
1. We should sacrifice willingly!
2. We should sacrifice cheerfully!

C. We let us remind ourselves to sacrifice
our behavior
1. We have no right to live as we want; we
should live as HE wants!
2. Let’s be thankful … grateful … and
sacrifice our own way of living to take
up HIS way of living!


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