Thanksgiving Sermon

The Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Amen.
James 1:17
In the name of our gracious God, dear thankful people:
Do we ever say it enough? We all can remember our patient or, perhaps, not so patient mothers prompting us to say it at the right times – especially around our birthdays and Christmas. We all think about it during the closing week of November. Do we ever say ‘thank you’ enough? Probably not. That’s not meant as a statement of condemnation. It is rather meant to demonstrate our need for encouragement from God’s Word this evening. Our God is so good to us every day. So let’s make the most of our time together tonight to say thanks to our merciful Father in heaven. So we are moved by the Spirit to say: Thank you, Father!
Tonight we say thank you, Father for your good and perfect gifts! These are indeed gifts from above. There’s the gift of providence. That is when we pause to thank our heavenly Father not only for creating us and the world in which we live, but also for his providence. When we talk about God’s providence we speak of how he provides for us. At times God works miracles to provide us with what we need for body and life. Most times he provides for our needs through normal means – he causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine so the crops grow and he watches over commerce and he gives us jobs – all so that there is food on our tables (even if it is only peanut butter). God’s providence also includes the way that he protects us by keeping harm away at times, strengthening us to face hardships at other times, and sometimes by turning bad things into good things.
We also pause to thank our Redeemer, Jesus, for securing eternal life for us! Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we know our sins are forgiven and that we have eternal life in heaven.
We pause to thank the Holy Spirit as well. We confess him as, “the Lord and giver of life…” Yes, he has worked spiritual life in us, who were dead in our transgressions and sins. He has worked the miracle of faith in our hearts and maintained that faith through the means of grace – the gospel in word and in sacrament. The Spirit continues to encourage us in living our faith as he strengthens us through the very same gospel.
Then we consider the various other gifts that come down from above. We are reminded that everything is God’s. How remarkable to remember that he gives us what is his. So we consider the gifts of life and health, food and clothing, spouse and children, abilities, and the like. We consider that God gives us wisdom and understanding, strength and endurance, agility and dependability. All that we have and everything we can do – it all comes from God.
So we say all we can – thank you, Father! Here and now we praise our heavenly Father who is the source of all good and perfect gifts. We open our mouths to say thank you. We sing our songs of praise. We reflect on the grace, goodness, and mercy of God and tell him that we appreciate beyond words all he has done for us. We humbly offer our meager praise – we give it our best effort. Tonight we praise our heavenly Father for his goodness to us in word and in song.
We ask the Lord to help to take our thanks and praise with us as we go our separate ways this evening. Yes, with the Lord’s mercy and gracious help we want to translate our praise and words of thanksgiving into deeds and thanksliving. We want to thank and praise, serve and obey. We want to – with the Lord’s help – act thankful – live the words we say! Lord, help us to be your thankful people in words and actions!
We are indeed wanting to take a moment to say what we probably do not say enough – thank you, Father! We thank him for his good and perfect gifts. But we also want to thank him for who he is. Yes, we say thank you, Father, for your changelessness.
Consider God’s unchanging grace. That is his undeserved love that he showers on us sinners. We do not deserve to be his children, but in the gracious waters of holy Baptism he has made us his own by putting his name on us. We do not deserve to come near him, yet in his grace he invites, “Come, to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give your rest.” Our greatest comfort is to know that in Jesus all of our sins are forgiven. And where sin is forgiven, we live a life in a whole new way, and have life that never ends. We totally depend on God’s unchanging grace – the safe and secure knowledge that eternal life and forgiveness do not depend on us, but are a free gift from God through the work of our Lord Jesus. Grace also emphasizes in the words of Luther, “I believe that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the gospel. . .” Our salvation is all the doing of our three-in-one God – that’s the unchanging message of God’s grace!
This evening we also express our thanks to God for his unchanging message. We have no need to second guess God. We have no reason to fear that he will somehow change his mind about the way of salvation or change the way to heaven. We know God’s Word and we grow in God’s Word. What a relief to find a sure constant in this ever changing world!
So we gather to voice our genuine appreciation. We confess that we often miss opportunities to say, “Thank you, Father!” We confess our sinful discontent with the things God has given us. We confess the shabby way that we praise the God of all grace. We confess our many failures and our apathy that shows itself way too often! We confess because we know we are wrong! We also confess because we are well aware that your mercies are new every morning! With you there is forgiveness that is what makes you great, dear God! We are thankful that our sins of unthankfulness and all our other sins are forgiven!
We praise God that he has given us a sure and certain hope in Christ! In Christ, we know that our citizenship is in heaven. In Christ we know that we are the very sons and daughters of God! So we raise our voices in one united voice of thanks and praise tonight – we have a great and gracious God. We say what we need to say every day! Our hearts are full to overflowing with love and praise for our gracious God. We say together – thank you, Father! Amen.

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One Response to Thanksgiving Sermon

  1. Sarah Mueller says:

    “Come, to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give your rest.” is one of my favorite Bible passages and I want to thank you for including it in your Thanksgiving sermon. So often we start off this time of the year feeling stressed about all the preparations and activities that are happening. This passage reminds us to lay all of those troubles on Jesus and lean on his Word for encouragement. Thank you for bringing this special message to us!

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