“Thanksgiving is Boring,” and other Thanksgiving Myths
- Wednesday, November 27, 2013
It’s one of the most overshadowed holidays on the calendar. Sandwiched between the ultimate candy feast of Halloween and the pomp and pageantry of Christmas, Thanksgiving to many is simply the day before Black Friday. Like consuming the obligatory green vegetable before you earn dessert, many view Thanksgiving as what you have to get through to get to the good stuff. “Thanksgiving is boring,” teenagers gripe as they anticipate the awkward small talk with out-of-town relatives over candied yams and fried turkey.
That thanksgiving is boring is one of several myths I’d like to debunk today, in honor of one of my favorite holidays.
Myth: Thanksgiving is boring.
Truth: Only if you're an ungrateful wretch.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).
Myth: Thanksgiving began with the pilgrims.
Truth: King David instituted a day of thanksgiving, complete with special food for everyone, singing, dancing, and special prayer on the day he brought the ark of the Lord into Jerusalem. The Israelites had a feast of meat, date cakes, and raisins (See 1 Chronicles 16). He composed his first psalm on this occasion, a song of thanksgiving. His goal was to "give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness."
Myth: Thanksgiving is only for Christians.
Truth: Thanksgiving is for everyone who lives on God's earth, breathes God's air, and is the benefactor of every good and perfect gift that comes from God. God sends the rain on the just and the unjust, and it is fitting for everyone to give him thanks. Christians should be the most thankful, however, says David, "Let the whole world know what he has done" (I Chronicles 16:8).
Myth: Thanksgiving is all about God.
Truth: Thanksgiving is all about me. Or it should be. God doesn't need my thanks, but I need to give it.
- I need to give thanks to remind myself from whom all blessings come. If I don't, I begin to get the crazy idea that I'm the source of my health, my talents, my possessions, my family, and my job.
- I need to give thanks to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, instead of entitlement.
- I need to give thanks to unseat the "little i am" (me), and allow the Great I AM (God) to rightfully sit on the throne of my life. This is called submission and humility.
- I need to give thanks to fulfill the will of God for me. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Myth: We celebrate Thanksgiving to thank God for all the good things with which he blesses us.
Truth: We celebrate thanksgiving to thank God for loving us. Everything else is gravy.
Pastor/Teacher Craig Barnes puts it this way: “Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is not in shambles. If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery ground. Every day of your life you face the possibility that a blessing in your life may be taken away. But blessings are only signs of God's love. The real blessing, of course, is the love itself. Whenever we get too attached to the sign, we lose our grasp on the God who gave it to us. . . We are not ultimately grateful that we are still holding our blessings. We are grateful that we are held by God even when the blessings are slipping through our fingers.”
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