On my drive to work two mornings ago, I listened to the latest episode of Al Mohler’s podcast, ‘The Briefing.’ That episode – titled ‘Wednesday, November 24, 2021‘ and available at AlbertMohler.com – was good and helpful; and it got me thinking about what an increasingly secular mainstream American culture makes of Thanksgiving Day with each passing year.
Who or what do wholly secular folks give thanks to?
Increasingly as I get older, I see more complaints that Thanksgiving Day should not be celebrated because it commemorates and sanitizes what European colonizers did to Native Americans – stealing their land, spreading smallpox, making war on them, et cetera.
But that take on this holiday really does miss the point, and I think I understand why that is after thinking about Thanksgiving in light of what Dr. Mohler shared yesterday.
When Thanksgiving is just “Turkey Day” to us, we see it as an opportunity to eat and express gratitude to one another and ourselves. And when that is our outlook, it probably is very easy to project backwards a critical eye on the character of our forebears.
But Thanksgiving should not be about what we or our ancestors have done for good or for ill. Wherever we hail from, whatever our ethnicity or skin tone, Thanksgiving Day should be about what the Lord Almighty has done in creating and sustaining all that is.
Reframing the holiday as an opportunity to recalibrate our hearts and minds to the unchangeable character of God’s purpose as the author of Hebrews writes in the sixth chapter of that New Testament epistle, we realize that God was good to all our ancestors, and that God is good to us.
We may not have all that we wish we had. But fixating on that is the opposite of giving thanks to the Lord for what we do have by his grace, whether common or special. So we choose something far better and more blessed.
Whatever is happening in our lives or the wider world, the fact that we have breath in our lungs and the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family is all the reason we need to give thanks to the one in whom we live and move and have our being.
On this day in particular, we give thanks to God for what he has done, is doing, and will do, and for who he has been, is, and always will be.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from me and mine.
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