Call me a curmudgeon if you will, but some years I balk at Thanksgiving Day, the holiday US citizens will celebrate tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong. I love what Thanksgiving was meant to be, but I don’t like what it’s become so very much. I mean, “Turkey Day” or “Football Day” and stores open that evening to get a jump on “Black Friday”?
When I do hear someone talking about Thanksgiving as it pertains to it’s original intent, people get the facts wrong. It represents the pilgrims thanking the Indians for their help or it commemorates the vile imperialism of Europeans. Such nonsense.
But we go through the motions — turkey and all the fixings, family get-togethers (the best part of the day) and huddling around the TV.
My church, First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, maybe has the best idea for a true Thanksgiving. For the last eight years we throw a Thanksgiving party at a school in a community not far from us. Members donate turkeys and stuffing and pie, then act as greeters and servers and table hosts. Last year we served 1,800 dinners, and this year we’re expecting 2000. Afterward, there’s music and games and crafts and sports. We also collect donated clothes and groceries, boxed up as give-aways.
This most nearly mirrors the Thanksgiving we refer to as the first. Maybe next year I’ll invite my family to join me serving food to people less fortunate — a true thanksgiving celebration.
The main point is, however, that thanksgiving is to be a part of who we are, and it is to spill out in our sharing what we have with others — sort of the opposite of Black Friday. (It crosses my mind that it is most likely people from the 99% who are greedily pushing and grabbing in these price-slashing sales. Ironic that the 1% is then accused of greed. Might it not be that greed is part of the sinful nature of man, present in the 100%?)
As usual Scripture is the best instructor. Here’s what Paul had to say to the church in Colossae:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (3:15-17 — emphasis mine)
Might we not assume that Paul wanted to get across the importance of thankfulness to those believers? And of course, his words are for us today as well. Peace and thankfulness, God’s word and thankfulness, all we do and thankfulness. Instructive pairings, don’t you think?