2017 | Week of November 20 | #1230
While on hold with a phone call recently, I was doing some mindless, muted channel surfing and caught a commercial that reminded me of the lack of Christian worldview in our society. The ad was something about Thanksgiving, but that word never was mentioned.
A series of pictures and words flashed on the screen proclaiming what the fourth Thursday in November is not. The last image was a turkey accompanied by the words, “We call it Turkey Day.” To many people, especially to the young people in our country, the national holiday we are celebrating this week has been reduced to giving recognition to a funny-looking bird. Doesn’t that say it all?
Such changes come slowly; they’re never overnight. They creep in, quietly and subtly. They happen when families and schools and churches and communities quit actively and accurately educating their people, especially the next generation. They come in under the cloak of darkness—the darkness that covers schools that use textbooks whose authors have so revised our nation’s history that our forefathers likely wouldn’t even recognize it. And the teachers who use the texts and instruct the classes have come out of colleges and universities where they have been taught American history that is without God, often anti-God, a-religious, and usually anti-American.
Then enters the retail world and the media—a combination that seemingly stops at nothing to rob our national holidays of their fundamental, foundational religious meaning and replaces it with raw commercialism. Anything to make a buck.
Add to all this groups such as Freedom From Religion Foundation and courts that have decided that all vestiges of religion must be eradicated from the public square. The combination of all these factors and more has resulted in switching from Thanksgiving to Turkey Day.
As I ponder these ideas, I am reminded that it’s hard to be thankful if you do not know to whom you are giving thanks. At the first Thanksgiving nearly 400 years ago, the Pilgrims knew the One to Whom they were offering heartfelt thanks—and I’m sure they shared that good news with their friends the Indians they invited to their bountiful feast. With bowed heads, I suspect to a person, this band of courageous people thanked God for food, family, safety, shelter—and much more. Not only did the adults at this feast share this knowledge with the Indians, they made sure their children knew the source of all they had.
Thanksgiving must really irritate atheists. It’s hard to be ultimately grateful when you believe you are the source of all that is good in your life. That’s basically what humanism teaches—I determine my destiny and bring good or bad into my life. Oh, other people may be involved; and I can develop, to a degree, a sense of thankfulness for what they do or have done. But if you trace it back far enough, other people aren’t truly the ultimate source of what we are or have. Atheists don’t like to deal with “ultimate source” ideas. Such words cut near their bones and make them face tough realities.
It must be hard, too, to teach anything near the truth about Thanksgiving in our public schools today. I wonder what teachers tell their students about the first Thanksgiving. I suspect many do so without ever mentioning the word God, or if they do, I’m sure it’s couched in dozens of disclaimers.
I don’t know about you, but this Thanksgiving season, I’m glad I can acknowledge the God from Whom I have received all that I have, including a nation that, in spite of all its problems, still has a motto that declares “In God We Trust,” still has churches that are independent of the government, and still offers freedoms and opportunities unlike any other country.
In the midst of family, friends, food and football, may those of us who call ourselves Christians, make a special effort to proclaim the truth about Thanksgiving, letting all know it’s not for or about turkeys. It’s about thanking the God from whom all blessings flow, just as President George Washington said in his First Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789 when he called on the nation to dedicate ourselves “to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks.” Amen and Amen. A blessed Thanksgiving to all!
For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.