I was relaxing at my brother-in-law’s yesterday reflecting on what exactly Thanksgiving day was. I knew that many families go around the table and list everything they are thankful for. I even saw part of a commercial with different men standing up to tell their families how thankful they were for the family.
Another phenomenon, which is now old news, is the title Turkey day instead of Thanksgiving. At first I thought Turkey day was a rebellion against giving thanks. I have since come to a broader conclusion.
Who are people giving thanks to on Thanksgiving? Football players and TV personalities give thanks and wish us a Happy Thanksgiving. Who are they thanking?
I would suggest that they are not giving thanks to God. Most people do not think of why they are giving thanks. It is simply tradition. But as you listen to their thanksgiving, you can tell that they are thankful to themselves. “We are so thankful for our family” and their underlying assumption is that they have provided for and kept their family together. “We are thankful for this great feast.” Why? Because the parents, grandparents, children, those preparing the food, have done a beautiful job with what they are providing for their guests. There is no recognition of the God who created heaven and earth.
More specifically they are not giving thanks to the true and living God, the Christian God. Now, how can we tell this? Some give thanks to god but not the true God. There are several clues that lead us to this conclusion. First, God must be powerful. If God were not powerful then He could not orchestrate circumstances to provide for us. Second, God must be a good God. If God were not good then it would be against His character to provide what is good for us. Third, God must be loving. If God were not loving then He would not have motivation to provide for us. With the enormous amount of goodness and love God has provided (life, family, a planet that sustains life, etc.) then He must desire that we obey Him and therefore provide direction for us, the Bible. Each of these provide another aspect of the Christian God, showing He is alone as God.
My alternate conclusion for Turkey day being used is that people have realized they deny the God who they should thank and instead substitute the creation, Turkey, for the Creator, God (Romans 1:25).
I’m aware that this is not foolproof. My point though is that we need to think through who we are thanking for our blessings, especially on Thanksgiving. And when we give thanks we should think through the character of God that gives us these blessings.