I had hoped to research this holiday and write about it before it arrived– again, holidays are someone's holy-day, but I allowed time to quickly slip away form me. Now looking back in reflection, it seems to me that most people in this world celebrate harvests and venerate some sort of god in thanksgiving for their year's bounty. But why the last Thursday in November – most harvest are long over by then, right? Like most holidays, the reasons for the celebration tend to fall through the cracks over time or details and facts get mingled with fancy and lore or change altogether to fit with “modern” times and values, this holiday is no exception. I will not get into the question if this is a pagan holiday right now, I will address that later – I need to do a lot of research first. The question I want to pursue is who do you thank for your necessities, life's perks and for even for your very life? My family has chosen the Almighty God of the Bible to be thankful toward, at least I assume that is the case, for most of us. My youngest brother recently shared with me that every morning he thanks the Almighty for his life - that he has another day to live on this earth, and that blessed me, it really did.
In these increasingly secular days, I find myself going back in time by studying the past, digging and rooting out the real meaning of a thing, because meaning gives value and substance to whatever you are doing, at least, that is what I believe. And it seems to me, now more than ever, that the real meaning behind our Thanksgiving celebration has been lost and has been replaced with unbridled gluttony and superficial affections – true gratefulness is in short supply. Nothing is wrong with a good meal mind you, but we tend to stretch our elastic waistbands over into the territory of gluttony this time of year. And instead of connecting with loved ones in a meaningful way and expressing the chief idea behind the holiday – thankfulness toward God and others, many revel in what I would consider a waste of valuable time, worshiping at the one-eyed altar, where grown men in tights brutally pummel each other over the possession of a lump of synthetic pig skin, all for the purpose of scoring points and winning a game, not to save someone's life. Somehow this needless barbaric display brings unity to the male populace and some traitors to the female gender – go figure. Then there are the shop-a-holics that revele in "Black Friday" which has been moved to Thursday evening - wow, now that is something to be thankful for huh?
ence living in New England, a wild and untamed land compared to England. To celebrate their survival, they made a feast and invited the natives to partake of it with them, but the god they venerated was not a vegetation god, or an impersonal god of forces. The god they were thankful toward was the supreme God, who created all things, yet is above or separate from his creation – the Almighty God of the Bible. Thankfulness is nothing new, but again, it seems to be a rare commodity these days.
The truth is I had planned in my mind to have an intimate time with my family, I had planned in my mind to ask each one of them what they were thankful for and who they were thankful for, because as I have learned, a happy heart is a grateful heart, but I didn't get what I imagined out the planning stage and in reality. What a shame to let that potentially precious moment slip away, a moment that would have added meaning to the celebration, for me for sure. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, after all, isn't it enough to just be together? Well, yes and no. Yes, because I love my family and I enjoy their company, I really do, sadly I realize this is not the case for many people. No, because I crave and long for purposeful and meaningful fellowship, not the superficial stuff known as “relationship”, but this desire always seems to slip out of my reach without being fully realized, why? Well, I'll have to figure that out for myself, but I have decided to not let that happen again, I am determined next year to start this tradition.
At any rate, dear reader, I hope you and your family had a wonderful time sharing in good food and good company. I hope you have taken the time to consider what and who you are thankful for, and to whom you should be thankful to, and please, actually tell them, be it in written form or personally spoken. There is something about the simple sincere act of being thankful that is humbling yet powerful, that makes you vulnerable yet strengthened. Yes, my husband and I opted to have a small gathering at our home this year instead of the huge gathering at a relatives house, and I'm glad we did, my regret aside. I haven't had my family over for a while at Thanksgiving time, so it was a joy to have all twelve of us under our cozy roof.
Not only was this a time of Thanksgiving for us, it was also a time of celebrating my nephew's potty training triumph, and Kyle's thirteenth birthday. Kyle is my “Turkey Baby” in more ways than one, I say that tongue in cheek, even though he is a strong willed handful, he is a joy to my heart – most of the time- why? because I am grateful to God he is mine to love. So, dear reader, I urge you to be thankful everyday, and display it through word and deed and you too can have a happy heart, not just on the fourth Thursday of November, but every day of the year!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18