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Thanksgiving Day is about…THANKING GOD! Duh!

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The following article by the L.A. Times just confirms my resolve to preach in the open air more about God, to talk to more people on a one-to-one basis about God, and to hand out more Gospel tracts about God and His Son Jesus Christ, because somehow, the American people have missed the entire point about what Thanksgiving Day is all about: thanking God!

George Washington, in 1789, wrote this about the upcoming Thanksgiving in November of that year:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

And Abraham Lincoln, less than a hundred years later, made it a national day of thanksgiving in his proclamation in 1863:

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

So how did intelligent students at two of California’s major learning institutions miss the point when exchange students asked about the holiday? Is it really about “some break time, and a good shopping time when things are cheap,” as one student thought?

Of course not. It’s about thanking God! GOD! Duh!

Here’s the article:

It’s a holiday that has something to do with turkey. That much they knew.

As the UCLA campus all but shut down, and classmates hoisted baskets of dirty laundry into their cars and motored off to see family and friends, a small group of international students remained behind to hold a Thanksgiving potluck and ponder the peculiar American holiday. Click here to read the rest of the article.

10 Comments

  1. I hope you had a very nice Thanksgiving. I did. (I made a sweet potato and a pecan pie.) We were at my sister-in-law’s and had a very enjoyable (and godless) day.

    Of the many things I’m thankful for, I’m thankful that I live in a country that doesn’t compel me to pay lip service to an ancient myth.

    • I had a wonderful small Thanksgiving Day with my family as well. I read a short piece by a Christian author named Max Lucado, formerly called “A Little Bit of Hangin’ ” that reminds us to reflect on those we may take for granted. May I suggest you read it? It’s not particularly “Christian,” and it’s not preachy. We may discover that there’s some common ground between us. Go here, then scroll down to the segment entitled, “The Conquest of the Familiar.”

      I’m glad that you had a Happy Thanksgiving as well.

      I, too, am glad that I live in a country that doesn’t compel me to pay lip service to an ancient myth… or a modern one! 🙂

  2. I’m sorry, Steve. I’m not trying to be contrary, but I actually found the story a bit creepy.

    Is the author saying the child almost drowning was a done on purpose to teach a lesson? Or that God allowed it to happen to teach a lesson? Because – that’s sick.

    “Before you know it, the little face that brought tears to your eyes in the delivery room has become—perish the thought—common. A common kid sitting in the back seat of your van as you whiz down the fast lane of life.”

    Does any parent ever really feel this way? Because I can’t relate to this at all.

    Life is precious and life is fleeting, and I can’t imagine taking any of these things for granted.

  3. I’m sorry that you’re just now learning that holiday tradition and culture, dare I say it, evolves!

  4. I had a great Thanksgiving, lots of food, lots of family, lots of good conversation. I tend to think moments like those make life fun and enjoyable. Then again many social events can bring out the best spirits in people, because humans are naturally social creatures. Oh and Steve you would be happy, there was thanking of God involved as well, though it came after the thanking of good health, good family, the country we live in, the bountiful food and the military stationed overseas who couldn’t be home for Thanksgiving this year.

    I’ve heard people argue about just what the pilgrims were thankful for when they celebrated this, were the thankful for the Indian’s help or from God, and if I had to guess I would say both. It took a lot of faith to come overseas to a strange new land and start a new life, but faith alone wouldn’t have provided them with the skills they needed to survive in “the New World.”

    It was learning from the natives, the skills needed for survival, that saw them through harsh winters and allowed them to live and prosper…. those heathen natives that didn’t know about God and Jesus but yet still acted with compassion towards the suffering of their fellow human beings and helped teach them how to survive regardless of their trespass. Yeah those guys. And despite their culture and many of their numbers getting eradicated for the centuries afterwards by good Christian white folk, all that mattered to the Natives was helping these strange people in their time of need. They broke bread with the Indians, thanking God for their harvest for the good weather that produced good crops (though one would wonder why they didn’t blame God for taking so many of their number the preceding year), but also thanking the Indians for teaching them how to live in the New World in the first place. This is speculation of course as no one alive today was present at the first Thanksgiving celebration, but I like to think the pilgrims were grateful to both parties.

    • Vintango: I thank God for the pilgrims and you! 🙂

      Garrett: Yep. Holidays and cultures can evolve, or in the case of Thanksgiving in regard to the article, devolve. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  5. Steve, do you actually have children? Because, unless you’re so self-absorbed that you’re twisted up in knots, they never become ‘commonplace’ or “too familiar” – at worst, they’re a cause of endless headaches, and at best, the reason that a parent came into the world. (Usually both at the same time.)

    “Of course not. It’s about thanking God! GOD! Duh!”

    Not necessarily for everyone.

    Now, if you want to get into the root sources for a holiday, then yes, Thanksgiving was about people surviving yet another year. But it’s a relatively secular holiday: an observance of history, a chance to gather with friends and family.

    Christmas, on the other hand, is an example of the early Christian church subverting a pagan holiday (notably Yule), a festival celebrating community and prepping for the hard days of winter to come. (Was Jesus really born in winter? Then why were shepherds watching their flocks by night? They’d freeze on the hills – the sheep should be safely penned up, and the shepherd tucked away from the wind in his shack.)

    So, if you’re so insistent that nothing is allowed to change or (Garrett said it first) evolve, then why don’t you follow the original “reason for the season” and make a fertility sacrifice, burn a Yule log, and generally get drunk and sing loudly, all in the name of (most likely) Odin? (Give me that REALLY old time religion!)

  6. Incidentally, Steve, I just finished watching a concert from an old sinner named Leonard Cohen – his backup singers did a song I think you’ll appreciate (I have no idea if it’s been subverted by the Contemporary Christian community).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZXRWJ1s68Y&feature=related

  7. I’m a little confused Steve, why do you thank God for the pilgrims and me?

  8. Ummm… he’s thanking God for the pilgrims because otherwise he wouldn’t have a holiday called “Thanksgiving” for which he could gently chide us for not spending every moment prostrate before his Lord?

    As for you, well, if you weren’t around, he’d have one less person to gently chide, maybe?

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