What God Says About Thanksgiving: A Full Guide

by Hyacinth

Thanksgiving is more than just a holiday; it’s a profound spiritual practice deeply rooted in various religious traditions. Across different faiths, gratitude is regarded as a fundamental virtue and a powerful means of connecting with the divine. In Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions, the act of giving thanks is not only encouraged but also seen as essential for spiritual growth and well-being. This essay will explore what God says about thanksgiving, drawing from sacred texts and theological interpretations across different religious traditions.

Christian Perspective

In Christianity, thanksgiving is central to the faith. The Bible, particularly the Psalms, is replete with exhortations to give thanks to God. Psalm 100:4 states, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” This verse underscores the importance of gratitude as a way of approaching God and acknowledging His goodness.

Jesus Himself emphasized the importance of gratitude. In the New Testament, the story of the ten lepers serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of thanksgiving. In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus heals ten lepers, but only one returns to give thanks. Jesus asks, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” This story illustrates the transformative power of gratitude and the importance of acknowledging God’s blessings.

Furthermore, the concept of Eucharist, or communion, is central to Christian worship. In the Last Supper, Jesus gave thanks before breaking the bread and sharing it with His disciples, establishing a tradition of gratitude within the Christian community. The Apostle Paul instructs believers to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), highlighting the universality of thanksgiving as a spiritual discipline.

Jewish Perspective

In Judaism, thanksgiving is expressed through various rituals and prayers. The Siddur, the Jewish prayer book, contains numerous prayers of thanksgiving, such as the Modeh Ani, recited upon waking, which thanks God for restoring the soul each morning. The Amidah, the central prayer of Jewish liturgy, includes blessings of thanksgiving for God’s providence and mercy.

The festival of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, is a time of thanksgiving in the Jewish calendar. During Sukkot, Jews build temporary shelters called sukkahs to commemorate the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness and express gratitude for God’s protection and provision. The festival culminates in Simchat Torah, a celebration of the Torah and its teachings, during which Jews express gratitude for God’s guidance and revelation.

Islamic Perspective

In Islam, gratitude is expressed through the concept of shukr, or thankfulness. The Quran emphasizes the importance of gratitude in numerous verses, such as Surah Ibrahim 14:7, which states, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor].” Gratitude is seen as a means of drawing closer to Allah and receiving His blessings.

The Islamic tradition also emphasizes the practice of dhikr, or remembrance of Allah. Through regular recitation of phrases such as Alhamdulillah (All praise is due to Allah) and SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah), Muslims express gratitude for God’s blessings and acknowledge His sovereignty.

Hindu Perspective

In Hinduism, gratitude is expressed through the practice of bhakti, or devotion. Devotees offer prayers and rituals of thanksgiving to the various deities, expressing gratitude for blessings such as health, wealth, and spiritual growth. The Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text in Hinduism, teaches the importance of offering all actions to the divine with a spirit of gratitude and surrender.

The festival of Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is a time of thanksgiving and celebration in Hinduism. During Diwali, Hindus express gratitude for the victory of light over darkness and the blessings of prosperity and abundance. The lighting of lamps and fireworks symbolizes the inner light of knowledge and the triumph of goodness over evil.

Buddhist Perspective

In Buddhism, gratitude is expressed through mindfulness and appreciation for the present moment. The practice of metta, or loving-kindness, involves cultivating a heart of gratitude and compassion towards all beings. Buddhists express gratitude for the teachings of the Buddha and the opportunity to walk the path of enlightenment.

The concept of interdependence, or dependent origination, in Buddhism emphasizes the interconnectedness of all beings. Buddhists recognize the countless causes and conditions that have contributed to their well-being and express gratitude for the support of others on the spiritual journey.


In conclusion, thanksgiving is a universal spiritual practice that transcends religious boundaries. Whether through prayer, ritual, or mindfulness, people of faith express gratitude for the blessings of life and the presence of the divine. Across different religious traditions, thanksgiving is not only a virtue but also a transformative practice that cultivates a deeper relationship with God or the divine. As we reflect on what God says about thanksgiving, may we be inspired to cultivate a heart of gratitude in our own lives, acknowledging the abundance of blessings that surround us.


1. What does the Bible say about celebrating thanksgiving?

The Bible doesn’t explicitly mention the celebration of Thanksgiving as it is observed today, which is rooted in American history. However, the Bible does emphasize the importance of giving thanks to God in numerous passages. For instance, Psalm 95:2 says, “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” Similarly, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs believers to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” These verses highlight the biblical principle of gratitude and the recognition of God’s blessings, which underlie the spirit of Thanksgiving.

2. What is the thanksgiving devotional prayer?

A Thanksgiving devotional prayer typically centers around gratitude and acknowledging God’s blessings. It often includes thanking God for His provision, protection, and presence in our lives. A sample Thanksgiving devotional prayer may begin with expressions of gratitude, followed by reflection on specific blessings received throughout the year, and concluding with a reaffirmation of faith and commitment to live in thankfulness. The prayer may also invoke God’s blessings upon those in need and express a desire for continued guidance and provision in the future.

3. What is a good devotion for thanksgiving?

A good devotion for Thanksgiving focuses on cultivating a heart of gratitude and reflecting on God’s faithfulness. It can include reading and meditating on passages of Scripture that emphasize thanksgiving, such as Psalm 100, Colossians 3:15-17, or Philippians 4:6-7. Additionally, incorporating personal testimonies of God’s goodness and blessings can deepen the sense of gratitude. Engaging in acts of service or charity as a response to God’s grace is another meaningful way to express thanksgiving. Ultimately, a Thanksgiving devotion should inspire individuals to recognize and appreciate the abundance of God’s love and provision in their lives.

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