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How to Avoid Gluttony on Thanksgiving

  • Ryan Duncan
  • 2014 19 Nov
How to Avoid Gluttony on Thanksgiving

What image comes to mind when you hear the word “gluttony”? For most people it usually has to do with food. Overeating, overdrinking, not getting enough exercise, or choosing the best meals for yourself, are commonly associated with this overlooked vice. With food being such an integral part of Thanksgiving, some Christians are naturally wondering how to avoid gluttony this holiday season. In truth, gluttony is a serious problem during Thanksgiving, but not in the way you may think.

First, let’s start by looking at what the term “gluttony” actually means. Gluttony is defined by over-indulgence, mostly with food, but it can apply to other things too. It is also defined by selfishness. Having a big appetite does not make someone a glutton, but hoarding food you don’t need instead of sharing it with others does. Food isn’t the problem, needless excess is.

Secondly, we need to understand the nature of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, with its towering dishes and oversized portions may appear to be an exercise in gluttony, but it’s actually quite the opposite. The Bible depicts a number of celebrations that would put our holiday to shame,

  • “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’"John 2:1-3
  • “And it was told King David, ‘The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.’ So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal.” – 2 Samuel 6:12-13

It even likens Christ’s return to a wedding feast (Matthew 25). So why are none of them considered sinful? It’s because they were not selfish in nature. Thanksgiving is meant to be shared with friends and family, a celebration of God’s blessings. As Peggy Fletcher Stack mentioned in her own article, Thanksgiving is perhaps the only day of the year Americans can eat and not be guilty of gluttony.

Lastly, if enjoying food isn’t a sin, how can gluttony be a problem on Thanksgiving? Well, as mentioned earlier, gluttony isn’t always about what you eat. You may have noticed that many stores and shopping malls get particularly crowded around the Thanksgiving season. People are hunting for the best deals, and while some do this with good intentions, there’s no denying consumerism reaches a fever pitch. That’s where you’ll find gluttony, in the rampant, unapologetic consumerism.

On Thanksgiving Day, allow yourself to enjoy the bounty of God’s love. Eat your fill, drink up, “be merry” as they say, and don’t feel bad when you feel full. Just be sure that instead of rushing out to the nearest outlet mall once dinner has been cleared away, you take the time to reflect on the things you’re thankful for. Instead of meditating on your Christmas list, turn your thoughts to home and family, two things we so often take for granted. Don’t let gluttony poison your Thanksgiving.

*Published 11/19/2014