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.

Are you?


Melody said...

Quite so, my dear Miss Dashwood!

And I loved the part where you said "(except football)" - my sentiments exactly.

I hate football.

I know, not the subject of the post - which was really good. I think one of the reasons this holiday isn't great commercialized is because it's hard to get around what Thanksgiving is all about, and they haven't come up with a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny for it yet. And I hope they never do.

It is a little sad though, how businesses seem to skip directly from Halloween to Christmas. It's just pushed to the back somewhere.
And Halloween doesn't need a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. It doesn't have a good thing to cover up.

Okay, now I'm really off the subject. But anyways. Great post. =) And Happy Thank-the-Lord day! =)

Miss Dashwood said...

I can't say I exactly hate football. I just can't understand why anyone would like it. I have been to one football game in my life, and I actually did enjoy it--but that may have been because it was at the local high school and it was a beautiful evening and my sisters were jumping up and down and shrieking their heads off every time someone made a touchdown (no matter which team it was...) and we were all laughing hysterically and being stared at by the people around us. But I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to watch the stupid sport on TV, much less pay hundreds of $ for tickets to an NFL game. ?

Hmm. Off topic.

Yes, yes, yes indeed-- I am one of those people who steadfastly refuses to acknowledge Christmas decorations until Thanksgiving is over. Please, people. One holiday at a time. I LOVE Christmas, but not until December. Or at least not until Black Friday. (I mean, really.)

But anyway, this whole "ooh-I'm-thankful-for-everything" spiel that so many non-Christians seem eager to reel off at this time of year is one of my pet peeves. You can't be thankful unless you have SOMEONE TO THANK. Ahem.

Anyway. Thanks for listening to my rant. And I know you'll help me sign a protesting petition if Congress decides to introduce Tom the Trivial and Trite Turkey as the Thanksgiving "character". :)

Melody said...

Haha! I love what you said about football. The only thing it's good for is to laugh at how silly the players look, with their big shoulders and tight pants... hahaaha....but I just can't stand how it interrupts Thanksgiving! =(

Haha, well, I'm not quite as emphatic about that as you, but I do like to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to set up the Christmas stuff. It's our tradition. =)

And really, as Thanksgiving is almost included in Christmas nowadays, it just gives them more of an excuse to say "happy holidays". I don't know if that annoys you, but it sure bugs me. (One of my sister calls it my "hobby horse"...:P). ESPECIALLY when it's not talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. That makes some sense. But saying it to include the 'other holidays'? That still sort of makes sense, but you know, I celebrate Christmas, so I'm going to say 'Merry Christmas'. Anyways, what really bugs me is when people use the word 'holiday' IN PLACE of Christmas. And it happens all the time.

Haha, since we like to go off subject anyways....right? ;-)

Yep, you can send the petition my way. Tehe ;-)

Melody said...

P.S. I like your 'Extensive Reading' thing. :)