Don’t Just Eat, Give Thanks


Thanksgiving has come to mean a lot of things to Americans.  It’s the day before “Black Friday.”  It’s a day to travel hundreds of miles to be with family and friends.  It’s a day to load up on turkey and dressing, then fall asleep on the couch with the top button of your pants undone. 

All of these activities, and more, are perfectly fine to partake of on Thanksgiving.  But this year, don’t just eat a ton of food.  Actually give thanks. 

I have recently rediscovered faith to mean more than words.  A lot of people practice their faith by saying that everyone who doesn’t agree with their point of view (this would be Baptists and Muslims.  Strange grouping, I know…) is wrong, or by looking down on others who don’t believe like they do (I know quite  few people of varying denominations that practice this one).  But faith is personal.  It’s between you and God, and no one else.   Your beliefs are what they are.  You should try to gain knowledge of God, try to understand what He wants you to do.  At the end of the day, God loves us and is forgiving, if we have faith and follow him, in our own way, or in the way our church says to, or in the way whatever holy book you prescribe to says to.  But, we should always be thankful, and on this day, a day set aside just to acknowledge God’s blessings and give Him thanks, we should be especially thankful.

Even athiests practice the feast part on Thanksgiving, and can be thankful, if not to God, to their families.  To the wife who busted her butt wrestling a twenty pound turkey into an undersized oven at six in the morning.  To the parents who sacrificed and gave up part of their lives to make sure their kids were taken care of and had the love and attention they needed.  To the friend who bailed them out of jail when they drank too much.  Give thanks.  Give thanks to the people who deserve it.  And for the faithful, give thanks to God who definitely deserves it.

Thanksgiving originally started out as a day that people went to church and stayed there all day, praying and giving God the glory for their lives.  It became a day of fasting, which is ironic since it is now a day of gluttony.  This fasting wasn’t planned, it just worked out that way.  Can you cook a meal for your family if you are in church?  And in those days, a meal was a big deal.  No electricity, no microwaves, no convenient foods, no supermarkets, etc. 

It morphed into a fall celebration and harvest party.  Everybody knows the story of the indians and pilgrims, who had a party that lasted a week, and celebrated their blessings and cooperation in a harsh land, even though their religions were very different.  We can learn from this.  A party that lasts a week sounds good to me.  But, as Americans, we can appreciate our differences, live and let live, and still celebrate our blessings, if they come from God, Allah, Buddah or whomever. 

On this day, enjoy your back yard football games.  Eat more than you should.  Enjoy visiting with uncle Dave, whom no one has mentioned since last Thanksgiving. 

But, above all else, give thanks.  Someone deserves it. 

To everyone who reads this, Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope your travels are safe, your visits are good, and your meals are worth the wait.

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