googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: How Much Thanksgiving Was Going On This Year?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Much Thanksgiving Was Going On This Year?

Did you see a lot of “Give thanks” commercials this year? Neither did I. Mostly I saw black Friday shopping deals. Now, I'll admit that I watched a little less TV over this Thanksgiving weekend than I have in previous years but I still don't recall seeing any real “Thanksgiving” wishes. It was mostly ads about Thanksgiving sales. It seems Thanksgiving is becoming a bit like Christmas where it's more about the stores than about God. How sad.

I've noticed too that there's also a lot less giving thanks to God. Instead, it's more an attitude of “being thankful” rather than being thankful to God in particular. This was especially obvious in President Obama's Thanksgiving Proclamation. Written in typical, liberal fashion, his proclamation was so obviously secular, it could easily pass as a parody of itself. You can read the entire proclamation here but let me hit a few highlights for you.

It begins by saying, Thanksgiving Day brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives.” OK. I could almost agree with that except that absent from this statement is any acknowledgment of Who has bestowed those blessings on us. As a Christian, I give thanks to God for His blessings. I don't think that's what President Obama had in mind. He immediately goes on to say, “The observance recalls the celebration of an autumn harvest centuries ago, when the Wampanoag tribe joined the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony to share in the fruits of a bountiful season. The feast honored the Wampanoag for generously extending their knowledge of local game and agriculture to the Pilgrims, and today we renew our gratitude to all American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

Do you see what I mean? Obama seems to say that the Pilgrims held a feast to give thanks to the Indians (er... Native Americans). And did he really say, “thank you” to Indian and Alaskan Natives? This is why I say this proclamation could pass for a parody without changing a word. It's so politically correct that it's like a cliché.

The first paragraph ends with still another vague, “As we come together with friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate, let us set aside our daily concerns and give thanks for the providence bestowed upon us.” Again I ask, “Give thanks to Who?” The entire proclamation is filled with platitudes of “being thankful” but is a bit scant on specifics.

The next paragraph is equally humorous. It reads, “Though our traditions have evolved, the spirit of grace and humility at the heart of Thanksgiving has persisted through every chapter of our story. When President George Washington proclaimed our country's first Thanksgiving, he praised a generous and knowing God for shepherding our young Republic through its uncertain beginnings. Decades later, President Abraham Lincoln looked to the divine to protect those who had known the worst of civil war....” In the midst of these references to God, it almost would escape notice that the President isn't actually calling on anyone to acknowledge God. Instead, he's merely recalling how previous Presidents acknowledged God. But this is only after he reminds us that our “traditions have evolved” - that is, “we don't do this now but people used to thank God at Thanksgiving.”

Next, Obama says, “let us offer gratitude to our men and women in uniform for their many sacrifices, and keep in our thoughts the families who save an empty seat at the table for a loved one stationed in harm's way.” Well, I certainly have the highest respect for our military. They are the protectors of my God given rights as I recently discussed this past Veterans Day. However, is Thanksgiving really supposed to be about thanking our military? I don't think so.

Finally, Obama gets to the part about God. You will immediately see that it's almost an afterthought. It's an insertion that Obama included more from a sense of obligation than sincerity (an obligation to Christian voters – not to God). He says, “As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives.”

So, let's get this straight. According to Obama, Thanksgiving is the time when we thank American Indians, Alaskan Natives, the Pilgrims, our military, friends and neighbors, each other, and – oh yeah – we thank God too. Well, no thanks. This year, as always, I celebrated the old fashioned way: I thanked God! I thanked Him first and foremost. Thank God for our forefathers. Thank God for our country. Thank God for our military. Thank God for our neighbors. Thank God for our friends and family. Thank God for everything!!

Praise Him from Whom all blessings flow!!

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