Why I Love Thanksgiving

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Nov. 19, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


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


Scripture Reading: Psalms 100:1-5

Text: Psalms 100:4

Psalms 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Introduction: Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. We are having much rain today. Have you heard the forecast?


In the pre-Thanksgiving rush, we have received an early weather report from our in-house weather reporters. This is one, you should be sure to email your Mom.

Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.

A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator.

Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.

In 1789, the first year of his presidency, George Washington, who had a lot more sense than our liberal Senators do today, proclaimed that the entire nation should spend a day in giving thanks to the Lord. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as the day of observation. In 1941, Congress set the FOURTH Thursday of November for the holiday.

I can take or leave most holidays. I love Thanksgiving, though. Some of you think it’s only because of eating. No, that’s not it. Some of you think it’s because of family gatherings. No, this is the third year that we have gathered with church staff, not with family, for the occasion.


1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

A. It is in the word of God

  • 1. We are commanded to give thanks!

B. It is the will of God

  • 1. See 1 Thess. 5:18 above.


1 Timothy 4:1-5 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

A. We can decide what to eat

B. We can dedicate what we eat

  • 1. We actually “bless” the food:
  • 2. 1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

C. We can delight in what we eat

You have to be careful, though. Here is an email I received:


  • * Paramedics bring in the Jaws of Life to pry you out of the oversize Lazy-Boy
  • * Your after dinner moans are loud enough to signal Dr. Kevorkian
  • * The potatoes you ate set off another famine in Ireland
  • * You get grass stains on your bottom after a walk, but you never sat down
  • * Your “Big Elvis Super-Belt” won’t even go around your waist
  • * Pricking your finger for a cholesterol screening only yielded gravy
  • * That rash on your stomach turns out to be steering wheel burn
  • * Your arms are too short to reach the keyboard & delete this


Psalms 147:7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

A. They are happy songs

  • 1. I’m not singing the blues.
  • 2. I’m not singing some country-western, honky-tonk song while spilling my tears into my beer!
  • 3. Psalms 100:1-2 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

B. They are holy songs

C. They are heavenly songs

  • 1. Rev. 4:9 is a song of thanksgiving
  • 2. Rev. 11:16-17 is a song of thanksgiving


2 Corinthians 9:11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

A. I’m thankful for pardon

B. I’m thankful for provision

C. I’m thankful for protection

D. I’m thankful for peace

E. I’m thankful for power

F. I’m thankful for the precepts of scripture

G. I’m thankful for the promises for the future – all this and heaven, too! AMEN!

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