Thanksgiving Through a Jewish Lens

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Let’s start the day with a bit of Hebrew trivia: 

Image result for thanksgiving and sukkot

There you have it!  Our God is God of every tiny detail, and it is no coincidence that turkey is the traditional fare for Thanksgiving.  Cool, huh!

Now, about that “Give thanks” part…yesterday we learned that the “Thanksgiving passage” appears in Scripture five different times!  God must want us to pay attention! 

So, put on your Hebrew glasses and focus on Psalm 136:1-3:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

That says it all, doesn’t it!  Thanksgiving is perfectly compatible with Messianic Jewish observance and you could easily turn this day into a “Thanksgiving Seder” by reciting Kiddush (a Jewish blessing to mark the beginning of a holiday)!  The appropriate blessing is called the “Shehecheyanu.”  Give it a try:

“Blessed are You, Lord our God, Master of the Universe,
Who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season.”

Since Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s steadfast love, what better way to give thanks on Thanksgiving than to share how His great love has sustained us another year. Here is a simple plan to add a taste of the Hebrew Feast of Sukkot to your Thanksgiving celebration:

  • Kick off your Thanksgiving gathering by reciting the Shehecheyanu (in Hebrew and/or English)
  • Hand everyone a copy of Psalm 136:1-3 and ask them to join you in reading that passage (in Hebrew and/or English)
  • Before or during the meal (or as part of a pre-meal corporate prayer), invite family and friends to give thanks to God by praising Jesus, our Savior, King and Lord!

For my American friends, I wish you a most blessed Thanksgiving Day.  For the rest of you around the world, I encourage you to join us in thanks and praise!

Hodu la-Adonai!

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