Most feasts celebrated by the people of the old covenant were in some way associated with the harvest. They thanked God for their earthly gifts. This makes it quite clear that sowing, growing, and harvesting were not to be taken for granted, and that they not only came about through human effort, but were also subject to the activity of God in nature. In this connection let us consider the beautiful Psalm: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your possessions” (Psalm 104: 24).
If we already give thanks to God for the natural gifts we receive, how much more should we thank Him for the spiritual gifts – the gifts of salvation – which He grants us! Intensive prayers, obedience of faith, and corresponding works are ways in which we can express our thankfulness. These include the natural gifts – our offerings – we bring to the house of the Lord. In so doing, we are, in a certain sense, following the example set by the people of Israel, who offered to the Lord in many diverse ways.
Certainly, the significance of offering has changed fundamentally in comparison to the old covenant. We draw a very clear distinction between the offerings and gifts through which we express our thankfulness, and the fully valid sacrifice which established salvation and by which we live. This sacrifice was brought by Jesus Christ. Above all else, our thankfulness applies to this gift of God for us.
This is an excerpt from a message by retired Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber on the importance of Thanksgiving.
Below is a gallery of images from Midrand Congregation’s 2013 thanksgiving celebrations:
Thanksgiving Divine Service: