Who knew that the word ‘grace’ is inextricably tied to Thanksgiving?
But doesn’t it make complete sense that a psalm of Thanksgiving is the testimony to answered prayer? Your Thanksgiving gathering will no doubt be so much more than the meal, but the specific giving of thanks for all the many blessings, the divine responses to your prayers, of the past year,
The Hebrew for ‘thanksgiving’ is todhah and its Greek equivalent is eucharistia. Todhah comes from the verb that includes praise, as in ‘to give thanks’. So many of our Thanksgiving Psalms begin with such a refrain, reminding us of– and building our ongoing confidence in –God’s delivering and saving power. For example, Psalm 111.
*1 Praise the Lord!
I will thank the Lord with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
That Hebrew word, eucharistia, was originally used in a secular context and meant ‘an attitude of thankfulness.’ So at the Last Supper when Jesus gives thanks over the food, the event eventually became known as the Sacrament, or the Eucharist.
In the New Testament Greek, that word eucharistia is built around ‘charis’ or grace. Here is the essence of the Biblical covenant starting with Abraham and blazing its way through the Scriptures: that God gives grace and we in turn give thanks. What a rhythm for our lives: the spiritual equivalent of inhaling and exhaling, the beautiful acknowledgment of God’s showering love, and our never-ending gratitude for that fact.
Perhaps you too have a family tradition that the main meal begins with a round of thanks by everyone at the table. Talk about a feast – and way before the turkey!