Thanksgiving and giving thanks

Published 1:00 pm Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving is, by federal fiat, a National Holiday and, for many the beginning of the preparation for what is now called the “Holiday

Season,” even though most of us remember it as “Christmas.” Somewhere in the translations of the underpinning histories of the period, the newest secularization rationale has clouded the real message of each. Such is our loss, as we move towards the thanksgiving of us, for us and us alone.

Whether it be by family, region, or national tradition, many of us will soon be called to the groaning table of the Thanksgiving Feast. Relatives and, perhaps some friends, will gather around for the inevitable gorging. Many of us will eat turkey, washed down with copious amounts of potatoes, green bean casserole, candied yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Of course, we may even seen a few oysters, crabs and gumbo in the mix, As tradition dictates, at the end we shall rub our bellies and intone ,”I ate too much and shall never eat again! This, as we eye the shortest distance to the TV and recliner in order to catch a quick nap, before the football games conclude our day.

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We may view our activities as the traditional way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yet, this begs the question, “How is what I am doing any different than at other times of the year? On the Fourth of July, we eat and shoot off a few fireworks, On Memorial Day; we eat and go to a parade. At a birthday, we eat and sing a song. If what we do at celebrations is eat and socialize, then there is little difference in our traditions at Thanksgiving. Of course, the menu items may change and the temperature may be a bit cooler, or warmer, but there are few other differences.

The real difference, for us, is changing our perspectives from the oft-tired ritual of Thanksgiving, to the true giving of thanks. On the surface, this may just appear to be a shuffling of words; however, the real meaning is profound. To truly give thanks, allows us to open ourselves up to the recognition of the gifts given to us. What started as a harvest feast by our pilgrim forefathers, who had very little, became our Thanksgiving. Their early celebrations remind us, not only of the gifts of the table, but all of the many gifts we undeservedly receive each day from our Creator.Let us begin Thanksgiving Day in quiet reflection by giving thanks, to Him, whom we all owe so much for what we have been given. Let us inaugurate a new tradition and attend a Picayune church, before the fever of the day takes over. Consider leaving out a side dish from the meal, (no one would really miss it anyway,) and donate the ingredients to the Christian Care, or Manna Ministries.

Consider taking a moment away from the hubbub, and ask for quiet blessing, in thanks, before the eating commences. Giving thanks is a very special time. In truth, we are called to do it all of the time in our lives. Thanksgiving, in spite of all of the efforts to make it a secular event is, at its core, the most religious of the officially non-religious holidays. For, in the absence of God, then we are only giving thanks to ourselves, which makes no sense at all.