Thanksgiving Perspectives

We hope you will explore meaningful and fun ways to incorporate some of this information into your own Thanksgiving celebration!

Thanksgiving Perspectives

Old Testament

New Testament


Todah conveys the extension of an open hand, as if to offer a sacrifice.

In the New Testament, eucharistia is used to describe worship through grateful language.


The open hand is a symbol of humility: with it a person indicates to God, “I withhold nothing from you,” and with the same open hand a person shows willingness to receive. It is impossible for the proud to be grateful because they do not recognize themselves as undeserving. Sacrificing our pride and approaching God with an “open hand” not only enables us to recognize God’s grace, it enables us to receive it.

It is from this word that “eucharist” (a word many churches use to describe communion) is derived. Jesus gave thanks for the bread and the cup at Passover before He identified himself as the Lamb about to sacrifice His own body and blood. (Luke 22:19ff) By giving thanks in this context, the Lord exemplified the attitudes of humility and obedience in His sacrifice. He then told His disciples to use the same ritual of thanks to remember Him. Communion is an act of grateful, humble worship for what Jesus did for us.


To obey God:“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)

To magnify God: “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)

To make God known: “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” (1 Chronicles 16:8)

To obey God: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thessalonians 5:18)

To separate all we do and say as an offering to God: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

To sanctify all foods, thereby promoting fellowship between believers of differing cultures: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.” (1Timothy 4:4)

To glorify God: “For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15)

How to Thank God

Freely: “And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will.” (Leviticus 22:29)

With food: “If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer, with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, or cakes of blended flour mixed with oil.” (Leviticus 7:12)

By writing Psalms: “On that day David first delivered [this psalm] into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 16:7)

With singing and shouting: “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: ‘For He is good, For His mercy [endures] forever toward Israel.’ Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.” (Ezra 3:11)

Continually: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15, see also Colossians 4:2)

For everything: “… giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)

In ways that edify others: “Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.” (1Corinthians 14:16-17)

With confidence, as an appropriate partner to our petitions: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)