On the fourth Thursday of November Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
Praise serves us as both a verb and a noun.
- Verb: to express warm approval or admiration of
- Noun: the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something; the expression of respect and gratitude as an act of worship.
It is interesting to note that President Lincoln proclaimed that thanks and praise be directed to God. He recognized that it wasn’t enough for us to just voice our thanks for each other and for things, but it needed to be to our Creator Father who gave us life. We need to remember to be thankful to, not just thankful for.
Sacrifice Is Proportionate To Worth
In Bible times, believers gave up the use and enjoyment of a spotless animal each year to have it killed and offered up as a sacrifice to God. Pleasing God was “worth” the personal loss. Sacrifice expresses worth-ship. Typically, we make “sacrifices” only if we place high value on someone or something.
- An African girl will give up playing with friends and trudge through a river collecting beads to sell to local crafters so that she can save up money for school shoes. Shoes are worth the sacrifice.
- A man from Alabama will miss work, drive a hundred miles to pick up friends and go to a stadium to sit in seats that cost $200 each to watch a single game played by their favorite sports team. The thrill of the game is worth the sacrifice.
- Family will spend time, money, and energy to get together for the holidays. Why? Being together with those with whom we have deep soul-ties is worth the sacrifice.
“By Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.” Hebrews 13:15
Hebrews says that praise is a sacrifice. Jesus’ work enables us to take our sacrifice into the very presence of God. In having the opportunity to praise God, what would you say? If you have a small view of God, the sacrifice of praise will bother you, and you will back out of His presence.
One day, people from every ethnic group will join together around the Throne and lift up their praise to the One who is worth it, far above all other people and things (Rev. 7:9-10; 19:1-8). How cool to get a head start here on earth. 🙂 So whether it is thank you, tusen takk, Ngibonga, do jeh, grazie, merci, danke, khop khun, or arigato, let’s give praise and thanks to our God!
You might even consider uttering this word at Thanksgiving. Let me take the word apart. “Halal” literally means “to shine” and figuratively means to boast, make a show, to rave, to be loudly foolish, and to celebrate. Jah is short for the amazing and unequalled name of God.
The middle part of hallelujah is lu, meaning you. The only thing standing between raving praise and God is you. Will you be the conduit or the barrier? Hallelujah is an exhortation – Praise you the Lord!
Structure Jumpstarts Impulse
I think we – even you introverts out there – need to go ahead and shine a little. You need to boast a bit, and maybe even carry on foolishly about our God this Thanksgiving. :-). Many Christian families find that structure jumpstarts impulsive thanksgiving, so they have a specific time to go around the table and say one thing they are especially thankful to God for this past year.
Being missionaries abroad, we are not in the US during Thanksgiving, but we have found that foreign Christians have fallen in love with the holiday. So we do our best to find similar foods, tell the old Plymouth story, and offer up the sacrifices of praise to our God.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6