“You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor.”—Exodus 23:16
Several thousand years ago, God spoke directly to Moses and established a new festival for his people. In Exodus 23:16, according to the record of Moses, God said, “Celebratethe Festival of Harvest, when you bring me the first crops of your harvest.”
Today countries around the world do something similar by celebrating the bounty of their land. In Ghana, the people celebrate the Yam Festival as a harvest event. In Brazil, Dia de Acao de Gracas is a time to be grateful for the crops that yielded their food. In China, there is the Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival. In the United States and Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
To understand the purposebehind celebrating a harvest, we pay a visit to Noah right after the great flood. God remindedNoah and his family—and us—of his provision for our flourishing existence on the earth. In Genesis 8:22, God promised, “As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” Our gratitude for the perpetual harvest, which provides for and sustains us, goes to our Almighty God alone.
No matter where people live on earth, they come together every year to celebrate the fruitful bounty of their land. This Thanksgiving season, we gather as a church, the people of God, to express our great gratitude to the all-giving Creator of the universe—for we would have no harvest festival to celebrate without his grand creative design.