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Thanksgiving Freedom: 3 Blessings To Remember

Thanksgiving Freedom: 3 Blessings To Remember

Thanksgiving Blessings

This thanksgiving season, finding reasons to be thankful may be difficult — especially in light of world turmoil. 

Yet, even in the constant shadow of evil, as Christians, we should always find reasons to give thanks for the blessings God has given us and the courage to be faithful in the light of adversity and persecution.  In this post, I look at the story of Daniel from the bible and highlight three blessings to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

Religious Persecution

In the bible, there is a story of a very successful man named Daniel who suffered personally because of a few wicked men who were jealous of his status and authority.

Seeking to undermine him, they conspired to find a way to  over throw him by using religious persecution to destroy him personally (Daniel 6:5). So through careful planning, these men conspired against Daniel by manipulating the king to pass laws prohibiting Daniel from worshipping God.  If a person was caught worshipping or praying too any other god except for the king, the penalty was death.

Because of Daniel’s faithfulness to true worship, he continued to worship the one, true God.  As a result, his conspirators caught Daniel in the act forcing the King to sentence Daniel to death. However, the story doesn’t end.  God eventually rescues Daniel from the clutches of death and the table is turned on the conspirators. Realizing the conspiracy against Daniel, the conspirators received the penalty of death.

The Land of the Free

Today, we live in a world that seems hostile to Christianity. Here in the United States, however, we do not yet have the lingering threat of death hanging over our heads. We certainly have religious persecution, but we do not have to fear losing our homes, families or even our lives because we faithfully worship the one true God, Jesus Christ.   

Even though this is true,  sometimes we can give in to anxiety and fear, feeling like the whole world hates Christianity.  The sad reality is that there are people throughout the world that hate us because we are American, Christian, or some other reason.

Three Blessings’s to Remember

In this fallen world, hate is a characteristics of humanity that we must be willing to accept because it helps us understand the mystery of love. Because of this, hear are three reasons I believe we need to be especially thankful for during this Thanksgiving week.

1. Freedom to minister … without fear of government censorship. 

There are places in the world today, China for example,  regularly monitors and censors Christian worship.

Even though we live in a time and culture that has increasingly grown hostile to the gospel message of the bible, I’m thankful that I do not need to worry about the government monitoring my every move.

2. Freedom to pray … without fear of someone spying on me.

In the story above, Daniel was spied on in his home.  He wasn’t praying in a public house of worship or even outside his home. Instead, he went into his “upper chamber” where he prayed three times a day.  Daniel knew the King had passed an edict banning prayer to anyone except himself, yet because of his faithfulness to God, he remained faithfully committed to his prayers.

In order to trap Daniel, his enemies would have had to gone to some effort to “catch” Daniel in his upper room of prayer.

There may come a time in our country where praying privately may become dangerous for us.  I’m thankful that for now, I still have the freedom to pray with my children and teach them God’s truths without fear.

3. Freedom to worship in church … without fear of an attack.

Each Sunday, I’m reminded by a Nigerian parishioner who attends my church how blessed American Christians are to worship in relative security.  Christian churches in Nigeria are under constant threat by terrorist groups.  They destroy church buildings and commit great atrocities all in the name of their god.

In America, we have not yet seen these kinds of attacks on this scale.  So I’m thankful for the relative peace God has given us to worship in security and I pray that we will not see this form of terrorism on American soil.

This Thanksgiving, while we enjoy times of family, turkey dinners, and leisure, let us be reminded that this gift comes from the generations of Christians who have gone before us giving us this heritage of freedom.  Let us also continue to pray that future generations of Christians will continue to enjoy the freedom to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.


About The Author

Jonathan G. Smith

The Rev'd Dr. Jonathan G. Smith is the Senior Minister of Redeemer Church in Orlando, Founder of Grace Nation, and owner of Higher Purpose Coaching. His passion is to see people transformed by the Gospel, the liberating power of Jesus Christ.


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