Last Thanksgiving was a special Thanksgiving for me and everyone in my family as it was spent decorating and preparing for the marriage of two of my favorite people, Bekah and Dylan. Thanksgiving dinner was the rehearsal dinner, and we feasted on brie and crackers, roasted yams and sautéed green beans, rolls and TURKEY! Dessert included all the normal fare of pumpkin and pecan pie, and our family tradition of gumdrop cake; a tradition I am keeping alive here in Montana, and intend to pass along to my own children!
Thanksgiving has always had slightly melancholy overtones for me. It is filled with happiness, candlelight, love and food, and every year I anticipate Thanksgiving a month in advance. Not solely for the feast that is prepared by family, or even the time spent feasting with family — though those are key components of a Thanksgiving celebration– But Thanksgiving is to me a door that ushers in a darker season, the season of winter, and all the dark and wild accompanying spirits of winter. Thanksgiving bows to Christmas and Advent. It is the spirit of Christmas that drives the cold winter away, but after Christmas come the long wintery months of January and February; months that require a stockpile of warm memories in order to survive them. That time is Epiphany season, a time of work and teaching, a time of discipleship and sanctification within the church as we continue to reveal the light that came down at Christmas to all the men and nations around us. So, in a way, Thanksgiving is a day that dwells not only on the past, and remembrances of God’s providence throughout the year, but it is a day that looks towards the future, and acknowledges the light of Christmas and Christ in the next year.
For our Federal Government, however, it is a day that has long been used as a tool for manipulation and so-called “unity” in a forced attempt to homogenize people in all states in this country. Thanksgiving was celebrated by individual states before Abraham Lincoln was the first president to declare it a national holiday; then Franklin Roosevelt decided which Thursday it was to be celebrated on. FDR first attempted to move Thanksgiving up by one week in order to drive retail sales up during the depression, but that was met with resistance, so Thanksgiving is now the 4th Thursday of November. Most Christians don’t even give it a thought that Thanksgiving has just become another Federal, and secular holiday, even though it was originally a celebration of our true “Founding Fathers,” the pilgrims. It’s still vaguely connected to them, of course, but now that our Thanksgiving celebration has been severed from being a holy day for Christians, and has become a “holy-day” for the state, it is increasingly secular each year. Instead of giving thanks to God as our true provider, we have come to rely on our government for everything: food, clothing, shelter, education, and healthcare… and we give thanks to them. If our Federal government jumps on every opportunity to paint themselves as our providers to whom we must be grateful. Which is ironic, since the Pilgrims were celebrating the fact that they not only survived the harsh first winter of the New World, but also were thankful for newfound freedom and escape from the tyranny of statist England.
This Thanksgiving, remind yourself and your children of what you are really thankful for. Our church, and our Christian forefathers are two things I am immensely thankful for. And I am also thankful for the never-ceasing progression of God’s church here in America and throughout the entire world –”The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”– King Jesus continues to advance, despite statist nations and their worshippers, tyrannies and oppressions worldwide.
“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” — 1 Corinthians 4:7