Saturday, July 20, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

感恩節的意義、對象和理由──THE WHAT, WHO AND WHY OF THANKSGIVING

For English version, please refer to the latter part of this page

美國慶祝一年一度的感恩節。其他國家也在不同的日期,慶祝類似的節日,包括加拿大、德國、日本、奧地利、格瑞那達、聖露西亞、賴比瑞亞….。巴西和菲律賓等國家也用非正式的方式慶祝。感恩節特別日的研究中顯示,在荷蘭的萊頓鎮和澳洲的諾福克島區域,也有進行這樣的慶祝動。

這引發了一些問題:如果我們慶祝感恩節,我們應該感謝什麼?我們應該感謝誰?如果我們居住在一個,沒有特定的感恩節日來慶祝的國家,該怎麼辦?讓我們以聖經作為指南,逐一探討這些問題:

我們應該感謝什麼 ? 有時當我們取得成功和重大成就時,我們傾向鼓勵自己一下。或許我們確實通過自己的能力與努力地工作,達到了某些目標而值得慶祝。然而,這些「機會」是如何產生的呢?我們又是如何獲得我們所使用的「天賦和技能」的呢?我們當然不是在商場或專賣店購買到它們的。在很多情況下,我們出生時,就具備了對我們所從事的工作有用的特質。

那麼,那些不如預期的環境,那些我們無法避免的困難和逆境來到時呢?我們是否也該為此心存感恩?我的一位朋友亞伯特,在經歷了許多個人和職業上的困難時期後,得出了結論:是的,我們應該感恩,即使是「 糟糕的事情」,因為上帝在我們的生命中,使用這些景況,是為了我們的最好的益處和祂的榮耀。

因此聖經教導我們,在人生的順境中要感恩,但在逆境中也要心存感恩。因為主會用這一切來磨練我們。聖經說:「要常常喜樂….凡事謝恩;因為這是神在基督耶穌裡向你們所定的旨意。」(帖撒羅尼迦前書5章16、18節)

我們應該感謝誰?正如上面所述,在很多情況下,我們並沒有創造出,能夠帶向成功和卓越成就的「機會」。雖然我們所使用的能力和才華,可能是隨著時間和練習,而發展與完善出來的,但這些「原材料」是由上帝賜予我們的。

這就是為什麼經文敦促我們:「當用各樣的智慧,把基督的道理豐豐富富的存在心裡,(或作:當把基督的道理豐豐富富的存在心裡,以各樣的智慧),用詩章、頌詞、靈歌,彼此教導,互相勸戒,心被恩感,歌頌神。無論做什麼,或說話或行事,都要奉主耶穌的名,藉著他感謝父神。」(歌羅西書3章16-17節)

如果您居住的國家並沒有慶祝「感恩節」的節日該怎麼辦?感恩 – 或甚至擁有個人的「感恩節」慶祝,並不需要國家的法令,也不需要地方政府的宣告。它可以是也應該是,對我們每天所領受的祝福,一項自然的回應。

事實上,對於我們這些,相信雅各書 1章17節所說的人來說:各樣美善的恩賜和各樣全備的賞賜都是從上頭來的,從眾光之父那裡降下來的;在他並沒有改變,也沒有轉動的影兒。我們的感恩之心,應該是每天都發生的。正如詩人所寫:好叫我的靈(原文作榮耀)歌頌你,並不住聲。耶和華我的神啊,我要稱謝你,直到永遠!」(詩篇 30篇12節)

挑戰思考

有很多表達感恩的方式。我們可以透過禱告、聖經默想,以及將美善「傳遞下去paying it forward」等,把我們所收到的祝福,延伸給其他人。另一種展現感恩的方式,就是向其他人表白。想想有沒有某個人,或一小群朋友,你可以告訴他們,有關你感恩上帝所做的事呢?也許就是今天。

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,請參考以下的經文(因篇幅有限,請自行參閱未列出的經文:約翰福音6:5-13節、羅馬書8:28-39、雅各書1:2-4)

詩篇50篇14-15節
50:14 你們要以感謝為祭獻與神,又要向至高者還你的願,
50:15 並要在患難之日求告我;我必搭救你,你也要榮耀我。
羅馬書5章3-5節
5:3不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,
5:4忍耐生老練,老練生盼望;
5:5盼望不至於羞恥,因為所賜給我們的聖靈將神的愛澆灌在我們心裡。
哥林多後書9章10-15節
9:10那賜種給撒種的,賜糧給人吃的,必多多加給你們種地的種子,又增添你們仁義的果子;
9:11叫你們凡事富足,可以多多施捨,就藉著我們使感謝歸於神。
9:12因為辦這供給的事,不但補聖徒的缺乏,而且叫許多人越發感謝神。
9:13他們從這供給的事上得了憑據,知道你們承認基督順服他的福音,多多的捐錢給他們和眾人,便將榮耀歸與神。
9:14他們也因神極大的恩賜顯在你們心裡,就切切的想念你們,為你們祈禱。
9:15感謝神,因他有說不盡的恩賜!

反省與問題討論

  1. 如果你生活在一個以某種形式,慶祝感恩節的國家,那是怎樣的體驗呢?這個特殊的日子對你有什麼影響-你是否有任何特殊的傳統或習慣,幫助你表達感恩之意呢?
  2. 然而,如果你生活在一個不慶祝「感恩節」的國家或地區,你是否認為,應該以某種正式方式舉行這樣的慶祝活動呢?請解釋你的答案。
  3. 當你取得重要的成功或成就時,你的標準反應是什麼?你會真實地或象徵式地沉浸在自我滿足並鼓勵自己一下嗎?你會禱告或感謝上帝,是祂讓你達到這些成就變為可能嗎?或者你會兩樣都做呢?請解釋你的答案。
  4. 即使在逆境、巨大的試煉和掙扎中也要心存感恩,你有何看法?這似乎很難做到嗎?一個人如何可能在經歷重重困難後,還能心存感恩呢?


THE WHAT, WHO AND WHY OF THANKSGIVING

By  Robert J. Tamasy

The United States marks the annual Thanksgiving Day observance. Similar holidays on various dates are observed in other nations, including Canada, Germany, Japan, Austria, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, and unofficially in countries such as Brazil and Philippians. Researching special days for thanksgiving has shown that observances also are conducted in the Dutch town of Leiden and the Australian territory of Norfolk Island.

This raises some questions: If we observe a day of thanksgiving, what should we be thankful for? And to whom should we be thankful? What if we live in a country that does not have any designated observance for thanksgiving? Let’s look at these questions individually, using the Bible as a guide:

What should we be thankful for? Sometimes we are inclined to pat ourselves on the back when we experience success and important accomplishments. It might be true that we have worked hard to achieve those things through our abilities. However, how did those opportunities come about? How did we receive the innate talents and skills we used? We certainly did not purchase them at the mall or a specialty store. In many cases, we were born with traits useful for the kinds of work we do.

What about circumstances that were not desirable, times of hardship and adversity that we could not avoid? Should we be thankful for those as well? A friend of mine, Albert, after experiencing many difficult times personally and professionally, concluded yes, we should be thankful, even for the “bad stuff.” Because God uses such things in our lives for our ultimate good and His glory.

So, the Scriptures teach, we should be thankful during the good times in life – but also for the bad times. Because the Lord uses them all as part of His refining process for us. The Bible says, “Rejoice always….In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16,18).

To whom should we be thankful? As noted above, in many cases we did not create the opportunities that led us to success and notable achievements. And the abilities and talents we utilized might have been developed and refined with time and practice, but the “raw material” was given to us by God.

This is why the Scriptures urge us to, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:16-17).

What if ‘Thanksgiving Day’ is not observed in the nation where you live? Being thankful – or even having a personal ‘thanksgiving day’ observance – does not require a national edict or even a local proclamation. It can be, and should be, a natural response for the blessings we receive every day.

In fact, for those of us who believe as James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows,” our giving of thanks should be an everyday occurrence. As the psalmist wrote, “…that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give You thanks forever” (Psalm 30:12).

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. If you live in a nation that observes a day of thanksgiving in some form, what is that like? How does that special day affect you – do you have any special traditions or practices that assist in your ability to give thanks?
  2. However, if you live in a nation or area that does not celebrate a “Thanksgiving Day,” do you think such an observance should be held in some official way? Why or why not?
  3. When you experience times of major success or significant accomplishment, what is your typical response? Do you bask in self-satisfaction and pat yourself on the back, figuratively if not literally? Do you pray or express thankfulness to God for making those achievements possible? Or perhaps some of both? Explain your answer.
  4. What do you think of the idea of being thankful even during times of adversity, great trials, and struggle? Does that seem difficult to do? How can someone possibly be thankful for having to undergo serious hardships?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Psalm 50:14-15; John 6:5-13; Romans 5:3-5, 8:28-39; 2 Corinthians 9:10-15; James 1:2-4

Challenge

There are many ways for demonstrating and expressing thankfulness. We can do so through prayer, with biblical meditation, and by “paying it forward,” extending to someone else a blessing similar to what we have received. Another method for showing thankfulness is by expressing it to other people. Think of someone – or a small group of friends – with whom you can tell about things God has done that you are thankful for. Maybe even today.



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