Thanksgiving Day 2023

Thanksgiving Day 2023

…and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured

perfume on them (Luke 7:38).


It was a legislated decision of the Canadian government, proclaimed by Governor General Vincent Massey in January 1957:


A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the second Monday in October.


But in truth, the concept of an annual autumn thanksgiving was celebrated long before:

  • the Indigenous peoples of Canada were known to celebrate a fall harvest, likely prior to the arrival of European settlers;
  •        history records early English and French explorers holding a Thanksgiving-like feast;   
  •        and, in the Maritimes, fall feasts featuring turkey and pumpkin pre-dated Confederation.

The Governor General’s identification of a national day of collective thankfulness – remember, this was a concept promoted by our national parliament – is worth a 2nd glance.

In it, the thankfulness is directed specifically.

Today, Thanksgiving is defined as food, family and football. Gratitude is an ambiguous concept. The target of our appreciation is often intentionally – more comfortably – vague.

But the official statement is clear: our thankfulness is to be directed to Almighty God, the Sovereign Lord of the Bible.

And secondly, our thanksgiving to God is primarily in recognition of an anticipated – and perennially provided – bountiful harvest.

It expresses faith in His providential delivery of a generosity and resulting prosperity.

But here’s the thing: our 21st century Canadian culture is too often characterized by Paul’s 1st century observation: They knew all the time that there is a God, yet they refused to acknowledge him as such, or to thank him for what he is or does (Romans 1:21, Philips translation).

Suppressing the truth of His existence. Ignoring the natural impulse to give Him thanks.

Contrast that with the woman who will be the subject of this week’s sermon. She boldly – although emphatically not invited – entered the Pharisee’s home.

And she took that risk simply to encounter Jesus.

As the historical narrative relates, she was especially unwelcome; she was known to have lived a sinful life in that town (v.37).

Simon, the host, was an uptight, self-righteous Pharisee. He was aghast.

But ignoring the sneers and dismissive stares, the nameless woman humbly expresses focussed gratitude and worship to the Lord Jesus.

She vocalizes nothing; only her sobs punctuate the awkward silence.

And she demonstrates her thankfulness in a lavish way – costly in terms of intentionally being the target of shame and reproach. But then extravagantly pouring perfume – valued at a year’s income, a lifetime of savings in that era – onto the feet of Jesus.

Takeaway: if thankfulness is an indicator of spiritual maturity this woman demonstrated great spiritual perception. And the response of the Lord Jesus – as recorded in the text – takes all of 10 words in the original language:

 “Your sins are forgiven… “Your faith has saved you; go in peace (v.48,50).



~Graphic –

About Us

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28 The community at Bethel includes a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Young and old, families and singles, English-speakers and those with a French mother-tongue, various ethnic and religious backgrounds. We reflect the make up of the city of North Bay. More importantly though, we are a group of people who Jesus has saved through his work on the cross. By God's plan of redemption we were all brought into one family as brothers and sisters in Christ, given a mission to reach into our world and make disciples for Him. We hope you will find at Bethel a friendly, loving group of people striving to live for Jesus Christ. Whether you are visiting for the day or trying to find a permanent church home, you are welcome to join us as we together seek out Him.