One of the things that God was strong about in the Old Testament, was that the people remembered Him and all His acts on their behalf. In Deuteronomy 6:12 the Israelites were encouraged to keep talking about the commandments to their children. God was also concerned that, when everything was going well for them, they would forget Him, and so He said ‘be careful that you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of slavery’.
After the Israelites had crossed the Jordan, they were told to place 12 stones, one for each tribe, at the river, Joshua 4:21-24, They were to tell the next generation when they inquired about them, that ‘Israel crossed on dry ground’ so that they ‘might always fear the Lord your God’. Another example comes in 1 Samuel 7:12. Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer (stone of help) saying “thus far has the Lord helped us”. He gave the people a visual aid, lest in the future they forget the amazing deliverance from the Philistines, that they had just experienced.
It’s a problem we humans have; we forget so easily. Thanksgiving is a gift that helps us to remember.
As children, we were always encouraged to thank aunts and uncles for Birthday and Christmas presents. Often by the time the letter came to be written, we had forgotten what it was that had been given to us. Writing that letter helped us to remember.
We have lots of things that act as reminders for us today, like the photos of a holiday, or a souvenir we have kept. We take numerous videos of our children and grandchildren wanting to hold on to delightful memories. My mother in law always kept a diary, and could look back to remind herself of events that happened years before.
Spiritually, thanksgiving is a very important way of reminding ourselves of all that God does for us. To look back over a day, a month, a year, or even over a past season, with thankfulness, seals those memories in our hearts. Taking time to say ‘Thank You’ naming specific blessings is so important. Sometimes it is even good to sit down and write God a ‘thank you’ letter. Or keep a ‘thank you’ diary of all the good things, big and small, that the Lord has done that week.
Psalm 103:2 says ‘Bless the Lord oh my soul, and do not forget any of His benefits’. We need to keep the thanksgiving flowing for both spiritual and practical blessings, because, as we keep remembering with gratitude, our faith in the goodness of God builds, as does the maturity we need, to handle the next challenge, that may come our way, on our journey through life.
Jesus Himself at the last supper, told His disciples to break the bread ‘in remembrance of Me’, Luke22:19 Interesting then, that some parts of the church, now call this the Eucharist. Eucharisteo, meaning ‘to give thanks’. Jesus knew that we would need a constant reminder of His sacrifice for us. So, yes, let us break bread with thanksgiving in our hearts, and let us also thank Him intentionally for all the other blessings that we experience in our lives too.