Thanksgiving has always been a secular American holiday. Nevertheless, it is one that, when celebrated in a particular way, resonates with the Christian worldview perhaps as much as any holiday besides Christmas and Easter. When celebrated in an intentionally Christian manner, Thanksgiving can be a spiritual discipline. The holiday reminds us to slow down long enough to thank God for what he has done in our lives, especially over the past year.
Now we need to be honest. This isn’t how many folks celebrate Thanksgiving. For far too many people, Thanksgiving is almost exclusively about feasting and football, which are good things when properly enjoyed. Perhaps more diabolical, for a growing number of Americans Thanksgiving is simply the day you get well-fed and rested in preparation for “Black Friday” shopping.
It’s easy to get distracted at Thanksgiving. Frankly, some people want to be distracted. I hope you’re attitude today is different than that of the comedian Craig Ferguson:
I like football. I find it’s an exciting strategic game. Its a great way to avoid conversation with your family at Thanksgiving.
For Christians especially, we don’t need less conversation with family at Thanksgiving, we need more conversation! But we need to be intentional about those conversations. I would encourage you today to pause and be thankful for all that God has done in your life, your family, your friends, your work, your church. Share your thankfulness publicly, whether around the Thanksgiving table or in conversations with family and friends. Celebrate this quintessentially American holiday in an intentionally Christian way. And may God receive all the glory for how we give thanks for all he has done, especially in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Note: This post is cross-published at Christian Thought & Tradition)