Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I'm Thankful To...
This is the time of year at which people everywhere are making "I am thankful for..." lists--written, mental and verbal. I made a few of those when I was in first and second grade, when I was assigned to do them for pre-Thanksgiving schoolwork. (I still do them, when I'm feeling blue or discontented!) I always loved doing schoolwork right before Thanksgiving, because it meant studying the Pilgrims, making leaf crafts, and making charts and lists comparing the first Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving today. It was a time when most of my academic energies were focused on being grateful.
But is it true that the thankfulness and gratitude is kept only for the fourth week in November?
Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays (it may be the only holiday!) that has not been greatly commercialized by the secular world we live in. I have no idea how long this will last, but for now it's very nice. :) For now at least, Thanksgiving is a time for the United States of America to remember its many, many blessings.
Or is it?
So many people in our world today are caught up in the "more, more, more" attitude. The fad of
"keeping up with the Joneses" did not die out after the 1950's. It's still around, and it's a lot more prominent than it was before.
Americans have a very easy, affluent lifestyle...and yet I think many of us take this for granted and consider Thanksgiving to be a day of turkey, football, once-a-year heirloom dishes, pumpkins, and family gatherings. Don't get me wrong. I love all of those things I just listed (except football), but they are not the reason for Thanksgiving.
Many people, I think, are under the impression that the first Thanksgiving was a feast that the Pilgrims held to thank the Indians for their help during that first year at Plymouth. This is partly true. The Pilgrims were very grateful to the Indians. But the real reason for their celebration was gratitude to the One who had made them, brought them safely to Plymouth, protected them from the sickness that killed so many, and blessed them with a bountiful harvest. The Pilgrims' Thanksgiving feast was a time of praise to God.
Is this what America is forgetting? Sure, we stand up and take a turn saying "what I am thankful for", but who exactly are we thanking? (Look, I have absolutely nothing against "I am thankful for..." lists. Please don't misinterpret this!) God has blessed us with everything that we have--both material and spiritual. Are we giving praise to Him, or are we merely appreciating our friends and family? Are we giving credit to God, or being proud of ourselves for having "earned" all of our material goods?
This year I have many things for which to be thankful. I have friends, family, a beautiful old house to live in, transportation, clothes, food, books, amazing blogging friends... the list goes on. But if I didn't have a Savior who came down from heaven 2,000 years ago to live and die for me, I wouldn't have any of those other blessings.
Jesus Christ is the one to whom my thanks are given, and he is the one that gave my many blessings to me in the first place. I'm thankful for Him. I'm thankful to Him.