As I was thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration, Psalm 103:2-5 came to mind. David writes these words: Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not his benefits…who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

I was thinking about the times when we sit down as families, as friends, as neighbors, and as brothers and sisters in the Lord, and decide who will give the prayer of thanksgiving. Some people pray before their meal and some people pray after their meal. Whichever you choose, it is OK as long as you bless the Name of the Lord and do not forget his benefits or his blessings.

For many people this has been a difficult year as they have been sick with Covid-19 and many people have lost parents, siblings, neighbors, and children. There will be moments of pain as some people who were at the table last year will not be with us this year. In the midst of the pain, we shall remember Apostle Paul’s instruction that we may grieve, but not as those who have no hope, because our hope is in the Risen Christ. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

The danger for many is forgetting that the benefits and blessings that we have are from the Lord. God reminded the Israelites as they were entering the land of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey, that they should not forget who brought them there and who had blessed them. Then you say in your heart; My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth. And you shall remember the Lord your God for it is he who gives you power to get wealth that he may establish the covenant which he swore to your fathers as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

We have an immigration problem at our border. No matter what your position is on immigration, remember that those people want to come into the United States because they see the US as a land in which they and their children would have a better future than in their own countries. Many people around the world would love to have the blessings that we have in this country, like an abundance of food, freedom of speech and the press, and the ability to sleep at night without worry that the police will arrest you in secret.

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta

From time to time, I hear this plea from children: “Say a quick prayer so that we can eat.” In that situation, it is probably better to eat first and then give a prayer of thanksgiving afterward. At the Thanksgiving table and every day, it is important for us to recall as many blessings as we can remember. Let your whole being give resounding thanks to the Lord for the things he has given to each of us during this past year.

From our house to your house, may you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...