The holiday season is upon us and leading the charge is a coma-inducing mosaic of turkey, tryptophan, parades, football and family. I think Thanksgiving has to be my favorite of the holidays during this season (that is, of course, unless you include international ninja day on December 5, but you probably didn’t know about that because it lives in the shadows).
Why is Thanksgiving my favorite? It feels the least militant in the religious circles that I run in. Think about it for a minute . . . go ahead . . . I’ll wait . . .
THINK ABOUT IT
When was the last time you were engaged in a religious campaign over Thanksgiving?
Almost no one gets up in arms about politics and religion, like we do on Independence Day or the Fourth of July. We never come across a group with the mission to replace the iconographic Thanksgiving turkey with the true religious symbol for the holiday. I mean, seriously, if there is an Easter Bunny then church folks have certainly done their part in giving him a complex. And, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone argue about the media and the marketplace diluting the “Jesus” out of Thanksgiving.
REALLY THINK ABOUT IT
Honestly, when you get right down to it, Thanksgiving is historically one of the most God-heavy holidays. Its roots can’t be linked to an ancient culture’s religious practices. There isn’t a conflict or war associated with Thanksgiving. No one was trying to make a specific political point or take a hard-nosed social stance.
Instead, Thanksgiving was and is just a day to recognize how blessed we are and if you want to be historically accurate, how blessed we are by the God of the Bible.
A TIZZY FREE HOLIDAY
Now, I’m absolutely not saying this to start another Christian movement that crams God unthinkingly, un-lovingly and unreasonably down people’s throats. In fact, all religious throat-cramming is something I would highly discourage.
Instead, I’m simply imploring people who believe in Jesus to keep Christ at the center of their Thanksgiving celebration.
Say grace, in Jesus’ name—call it a historical reenactment so you can pass it off as a public school-approved lesson for the children. You may, however, need to don a pilgrim hat to get away with it (I’d recommend staying away from the feather-stapled construction paper headband for politically correct reasons).
Talk to people about God’s love and abundant common grace, which falls on everyone, and blame Abraham Lincoln for giving you the idea—no one can get mad at good old Abe for the original presidential Thanksgiving Day proclamation in 1863 (the year of the Emancipation Proclamation).
Just mute the football game for a few minutes. You don’t even have to turn the TV off (“unless you reeeaaallly love Jesus” he thought to himself in a condescending and judgmental tone).
Read a passage of Scripture, if you’re bold enough. Keep it short and don’t preach (said the preacher). I’d recommend 1 Timothy 4:4-5 or 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
Let’s keep this a tizzy-free holiday, Christ-ones, but let’s work to include “Christ” in Thanksgiving.