I once heard my pastor say that "Thanksgiving is the most biblical holiday." I tend to agree with that statement. The Old Testament feasts and holidays are fulfilled, or being fulfilled in Christ. The ceremonies of them are abolished - see Torah vs. Grace.
"Christmas" and "Easter" are portrayed in the Word of God as pagan holidays - see the articles under the "Holiday Truths" section in the left sidebar.
Thanksgiving is an American holiday, all about giving thanks to God. It's not "Turkey Day." In fact, my family prefers goose, so we usually serve roasted goose for this special occasion.
Thanksgiving is about giving God thanks for the freedom to read the Bible, believe it, and follow it. The people who we know as the "Pilgrims" that came in on the Mayflower, were actually Separatists and Strangers. The Separatists were people who differed from the Puritans. If I lived in that time, I would probably be a Separatist. In a way, that's what I am today.
The Puritans were trying to purify the Protestant church, and get all of the Roman Catholic leaven out of it. Most Protestant churches today unfortunately still have plenty of Roman Catholic leaven. The Puritans were not successful.
The Separatists realized that they couldn't just walk in and start changing churches, so they decided to separate themselves from the corrupted churches, and they looked to have a church where Jesus is the head (1 Cor. 12) and the Word of God is to be followed, and not man's traditions (Col. 2:8).
Through the centuries, through the reading of the Holy Bible, many people have woke up, and have "come out of her" (Rev. 18:4). People have (and still are) coming out of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, and are coming to God and His Word. Purge the leaven:
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" -1 Corinthians 5:7
Eventually, the Separatists desired to go to America, where they could worship the Lord as the Bible says, without being persecuted by the other churches for doing so. In order to procure a ship, they had to agree to take a good number of other people with them. They referred to these other people as Strangers.
It appears that the Strangers joined the Separatists, perhaps eventually becoming Separatists themselves.
During the first winter in the New World, many of these "Pilgrims" died. This didn't squelch the spirit of those still alive, however. They continued to thank the Lord that they finally were able to worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH:
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." -John 4:24
The Lord's hand was on these people, who followed the Truth:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." -John 14:6
They ended up on land that was already cultivated and abandoned. They ended up meeting a few Indians who spoke good English, and who liked them. The Indians taught them how to work the land and get good food.
This led up to the first Thanksgiving feast, where it was proclaimed that a day be set apart, in which people were to gather together in a feast and give thanks to the Lord God. In the first Thanksgiving gathering, the Separtists invited the Indians to partake of the feast with them. As they gathered together, the Separtists gave thanks to God.
Thanksgiving is about thanking God that we are able to worship Him in spirit, and in TRUTH.
How my Family Celebrates this Holiday
My family does not partake in the pagan festival, which is now known under the name of "Christmas." Instead, our big holiday is Thanksgiving. We purchase gifts for each other, wrap them up, and save them until Thanksgiving day.
On Thanksgiving morning, we pray to and thank the Lord for his blessings, and for the ultimate gift He gave us - that of His sending his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die to pay for our sins. The ultimate free gift is this:
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." -Romans chapter 5
Have you accepted the free gift? If not, please click here.
We give gifts to one another in remembrance of the ultimate Free Gift. We show our appreciation and give thanks to one another in this way. We thank the Lord for His provisions and blessings, and remind one another to joy in the Lord always.
In addition to the gift giving, we have a Thanksgiving feast in the afternoon. We often host Thanksgiving for friends and family at our house, but sometimes we travel, and have Thanksgiving at other's homes. When we do this, we usually unwrap our presents when we get back home.
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks to the Lord, and that we can worship Him in spirit and in truth. We give gifts to one another as part or our celebration; somewhat like a birthday.
Thanksgiving, a Giving of Thanks
Under the Old Covenant/Old Testament, offerings of thanksgiving unto the Lord were given:
"If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried." -Leviticus 7:12
"Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren." -Nehemiah 12:8
Under the New Covenant/New Testament, we offer the Sacrifice of Praise:
"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
Under both covenants, God's people offered unto God thanksgiving:
"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works." -Psalm 26:7
In ending this article, I leave you with a convicting Scripture:
"Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD." Lamentations 3:40