Thanksgiving should be more than a holiday. It is an integral part of the Christian life. From its inception to its conclusion, giving thanks is a huge secret to the Christian life, the experience of Christ, and the maintenance of the church life.
Three of Paul’s letters illustrate this this: 1 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. –1 Thes. 5:18
And whatever you do in word or in deed, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. –Col. 3:17
Giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father. –Eph. 5:20
Witness Lee comments that these books represent all three stages of our Christian life, which must be characterized by the giving of thanks:
Among the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, only three—1 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians—mention the matter of giving thanks in everything… The first of these books, 1 Thessalonians, speaks of how we can be saved and how we should have a holy life so that our spirit, soul, and body may be wholly sanctified, making us ready to meet the Lord at His coming. This concerns a proper, general Christian life. The second book is Colossians, which concerns Christ and which eventually speaks about experiencing Christ. The life of experiencing Christ is a life of giving thanks in everything… The third book, Ephesians, which is a sister book to Colossians, concerns the church, and at the end it speaks about the experience of the church. We can have the church life only by living in the spirit. Likewise, such a church life is a matter of giving thanks in all things. Hence, we can see clearly that whether it is the proper Christian life, the life of experiencing Christ, or the church life, each concludes with giving thanks in all things. Our Christian life is of three stages: the general Christian life; the life of experiencing Christ, abiding in Christ, and living Christ; and the church life, the life of experiencing the Body. Every stage of our Christian life involves the giving of thanks in everything. Our Christian life becomes deformed whenever it is separated from the matter of giving thanks in all things.
1. Witness Lee, Abiding in the Lord to Enjoy His Life, pp. 31-32