Thanksgiving Day Messages From 6 Christian Leaders

Evangelical Christian pastors and ministry leaders are expressing gratitude to God on Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and encouraging Christians to be grateful always, even when things aren’t going their way.

Some pointed to the history of the Pilgrims and the some of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the nation, while others noted that multitudes around the world are in need of Christian generosity.

Following are the Thanksgiving messages of six notable pastors or Christian organization leaders.

Franklin Graham, who is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse, said in a Facebook video that he is thankful for “my wife, my children, my grandchildren … but more importantly, I am thankful to God.”

Graham, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, focused his message on what Christ did 2,000 years ago when He was nailed to the cross to pay for the sins of the world.

“Jesus Christ took our sins,” Graham said, adding that God “poured upon him the sins of mankind,” but then brought Him back to life.

“Jesus is alive, He will come into your life, and God will forgive your sins,” the evangelist stressed, pointing to the “opportunity to be with Him in Heaven for eternity” for those who believe.

In the written portion of his post, Graham added that Thanksgiving “should be a reminder to us to tell God how grateful we are for His many gifts and all He has done for us. The Bible says ‘in everything give thanks…'(1 Thessalonians 5:18).”

Reformed theologian Kevin DeYoung wrote in a blog post for The Gospel Coalition that those with the highest virtues know how to give thanks.

“Think of the godliest people you know, the saints you most respect, the ones you want to be like when you grow up, the believers you want to emulate and imitate,” DeYoung stated.

“Almost certainly, the people you are thinking of are thankful people. Cynics and critics may be celebrated on social media and on late-night television, but they do not make great heroes of the faith.”

The senior pastor of Christ Covenant Church in North Carolina reminded Christians of the story of Paul in the New Testament and the severe hardships he faced.

“Paul did not have an easy life. He was beaten, slandered, misunderstood, imprisoned, shipwrecked, stoned, and opposed by someone almost everywhere he went. Nevertheless, he was profoundly grateful. Being grateful has little to do with your circumstances,” he noted.

“Sure, it’s easier to be happy when everything is coming up roses, but we’ve all known people who seem to have everything, and yet are terrifically unhappy. Conversely, we all know people who seem to find hidden blessings in every trial. Grumbler or thanks-giver: we really do have a choice.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, focused his Thanksgiving thoughts on recalling the history of some of the first celebrants of the holiday in the nation.

“You’ve no doubt read or heard about the Pilgrims and the challenges they faced as they came to America. They came here risking all, not for the freedom of worship, but for the freedom of religion: the freedom to believe, live their lives, and teach their children according to those beliefs,” Perkins reminded readers.

“What the record shows is that their gratitude was a choice in their circumstance, not a product of their circumstance. As a result of that choice to be grateful, they laid the foundation for the world’s most prosperous and blessed nation.”

Perkins also pointed to Paul’s preaching on gratitude in the Bible.

“The Apostle Paul provides the key to this continual feast of thanksgiving in his letter to the Thessalonians, which he wrote from prison, instructing them to ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,'” he said.

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Source: Christian Post