Reasons to Celebrate Thanksgiving

 In God's Character, Holidays, Justice, Knowing God, Peace

Last week, I saw an interesting hashtag trend on Twitter: #ReasonsToSkipThanksgiving. The comments were mostly what a person would expect. Jokes about family arguments, political jabs, and angst over the well-being of turkeys filled my Twitter feed. There were also the usual blurbs about refusing to celebrate the raiding, pillaging, and genocide of early North American settlers. For my part, though, I choose to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, so I responded with: “Because I prefer to spend my life angry, miserable, and depressed about all that I don’t like in our world. #ReasonsToSkipThanksgiving

The beauty of the Thanksgiving holiday is that it encourages us to step back from our contentious world and cultivate a grateful attitude. And though my family is blessed to feast on this day, our celebration is mostly about appreciating God’s amazing blessings in our lives.

A Thanksgiving Respite

To better preserve the joy and integrity of the holiday, I’ve also decided to take a Thanksgiving break from social media. I’m sure they’ll be numerous posts reflecting gratefulness on this special day, but their luster is contaminated by so many contentious comments—especially those political in nature.

It’s not that politics cease to matter for a few days, or that I want to bury my head in the sand. My biggest frustration is a closed-mindedness now prevailing on both the right and left. And the issue isn’t just about having an opinion, it’s more our unwillingness to explore and understand opinions other than our own.

What’s True?

Complicating our situation further still is the dearth of unbiased media reporting. Again, from both the right and left, I see a multitude of articles written with the obvious intent of promoting agendas. This trend is now to the point that objective journalistic reporting has been jettisoned for “the cause”—whatever that cause may be. The resulting impact, I believe, is devastating to our national well-being.

Why am I not outraged about this thing and that injustice happening on a national scale? Because I don’t know what reports to believe. When virtually everything seems to be penned with a biased intent, I’m left with little to no confidence that I can compile an accurate perspective of events outside of my personal sphere. There are simply too many issues at hand to painstakingly investigate them all beyond bias.

Refocusing

My perspective may sound somewhat futile, but it’s nothing of the sort. By stepping back from our human chaos and appreciating God’s goodness, I’m able to refocus not only on the most important elements in life, but also how to bring genuine change.

The answers to our national problems are not so much political as they are spiritual and moral. If there’s one productive change we can all make, it’s to step out of our own bias, giving honest, clear, and reasonable explanations for the things we believe.

Peace Beyond Comprehension

Regardless of what those around us do, the God who created us is able to bring a type of peace out of chaos that pushes the boundaries of our comprehension.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-6 (NASB, emphasis added)

If people in the world around me want to be miserable, that’s their choice. But to the best of my ability, I’m going to celebrate the part of Philippians 4:6 that seems to be most overlooked: “with thanksgiving”. Further still, not only do I plan to celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday, I’m working to make thankfulness a daily attitude of my heart.

I Will Celebrate Thanksgiving

The contentiousness of social media is but one indicator that we live in a world overflowing with anxiety. That instability, however, need not be our reality. Of all the reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving, one stands out above all others: the eternal truth of God’s goodness brought to bear in our broken world.

And so, with craziness in the world around me, but the light of appreciation in my heart, I am going to unabashedly celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday. I also wish you and your loved ones a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

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