FEAST OF THE HARVEST A TIME FOR CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING
As a young child growing up in the South and the oldest son of a sharecropper, I remember the harvest has been one of our most enjoyable moments of farm life. We gather in the crops that we had spent all summer laboring to help bring them into baring plenty of fruit that we could truly enjoy. When I grew up and begin teaching and preaching the gospel, it was only natural that I would use my knowledge and experience to teach others concerning the Feast of the Harvest. So let me share with you what the Bible teaches us about the feast of the harvest.
The Bible teaches us that the Feast of the Harvest was one of the happiest times of the year in Palestine (Psalms 126:5-6; Is. 9:3), marked with celebrations and religious festivals (Ex. 23:16). There were two grain harvests. Barley was gathered from mid-April onwards, and wheat from mid-May. The harvest of fruit from trees and vines took place in the fall.
Cutting with a sickle began the process of harvesting grain (Deut. 16:9; Mark 4:29). Then it was gathered into sheaves (Deut. 24:5. Next the grain was taken to the threshing floor, an important local site with a hard surface and often situated on higher ground. Various tools, such as metal-toothed sledges drawn by oxen, were used for threshing. Then the grain was winnowed, or tossed into the air, with a pitchfork. The wind carried off the chaff, but the heavier kernels and straw fell to the ground (Matt.. 3:12).
Finally, the kernels were shaken in a sieve, made of a wooden hoop with leather thongs (Is. 30:28; Amos 9:9). Then the grain was stored.
Harvest became a picture of God’s judgment (Jer. 51:33; Joel 3:13, and Jesus compard the Last Judgment with the harvest (Matt. 13:30, 39; Rev. 14:14-20). However, Jesus used the same metaphor for the gathering together of those who believed in Him (Matt. 9:37-38; Luke 10:2), indicating that the final harvest has already begun with His first coming (John 4:35).
A TIME FOR CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving Day, as celebrated in America, is a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings enjoyed by all of our citizens. However, to many people, its meaning is lost. It has become simply another day for huge meals, dinner parties, get-togethers or reunions. What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
In most families it will be days for celebrating the Feast of Harvest, whether we actually participated in this feast are not. As our families gather together, the dinner tables will look like this: Turkey dinners, cranberries, candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and family gatherings—these are all commonly associated with most Americans’ and giving thank for the many blessings bestowed upon each one of us on Thanksgiving Day!
I encourage all of you to think on the things of God. From the time of the Pilgrims arriving on the shores of Massachusetts until this day, we must remember that our thanks should always be to God for what he has and continues to do in our lives.
We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material? God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children?
We encourage you to take the following scriptures to heart. “”Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).”
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).
We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, and may you use this day to bless someone in your life. I remain your brother in CHRIST, PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER!