By Bruce Schlenke
I believe Daniel to be just about the most consistently godly character in the Old Testament. And, I especially like his view of Thanksgiving Day, even though he lived 2500 years before it was officially celebrated as an American holiday.
Here’s what I mean. It’s in the 6th chapter of Daniel where we read about his encounter with King Darius’s lions. Daniel openly and unswervingly practices his faith in the one true Jehovah God, even as he serves as an incorruptible, favored foreigner while in exile in the King of Babylon’s court. This makes his court peers very jealous, and they plot his demise to the lion’s den, which, of course, he survives under God’s protective hand. Although bringing on him such deadly push-back, Daniel’s overt practice of daily prayers is what I call his celebration of The Grateful Day.
In his upstairs room with the windows opened toward Jerusalem, “three times a day Daniel got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel
6:10) For Daniel, The Grateful Day is a journey in time.
You see, three times a day, each day, Daniel meets with God in prayer, expressing his gratitude. Morning, noon and night. Sunrise, mid-day, sunset. Thanksgiving flows from Daniel’s heart to God. But then, his Grateful Day is not just 24. It’s 24-7. Daniel gives thanks to his God, “just as he had done before.” His heart, his mind, his lips are grateful for all that God has done for him - continually! The Grateful Day has been Daniel’s journey of days in time; prayers of thanksgiving have been his daily habit, to continue as long as he lives. Then finally, ultimately and obviously, Daniel’s life of daily prayers “giving thanks to his God” touches eternity, the ‘time frame’ of our Creator and Provider God with whom he has conversational relationship.
May our special November Thursday this year more faithfully resemble the time line of Daniel and be The Grateful Day. So, multiply the turkey-meal grace prayer; extend that one-date Thanksgiving Day. And magnify our everlasting God.
Thanks be to God!