A Heart of Thanks on Thanksgiving

I’m going to shoot from the hip, here. I’m conflicted. God has been doing a number on my heart lately when it comes to the holidays we celebrate, and it’s not been easy. I am a person who likes to see things in black and white. I don’t like grey area, because grey is too confusing. When there’s a lot of grey, there’s too much left to interpretation; and honestly, my pathetically human brain will always interpret in whatever way is easiest for me. That’s just how I am.

After everything my husband and I have learned, we have been able to see holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween as pretty much black and white, with no grey area at all. They are pagan. The rituals are pagan, they were created for and celebrated by pagans long before Jesus, and they have continued to be pagan even though many Christians have attempted to given them a spiritual makeover. God states plain as day in the Bible that we are to stay away from pagan rituals, and knowing what I know, it’s pretty cut and dry. God says stay away, so we will stay away. I like that because it’s simple, and in my mind there really isn’t any room for interpretation.

But then there are the things that aren’t quite so cut and dry. I’ve been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving, and I see no issues with celebrating it, since it’s not of a pagan origin. In fact, I’d say that the Lord had a starring role in the original holiday! That said, I don’t feel good about how we celebrate Thanksgiving. Correct me if I am wrong, but the whole point of the day is for us to be thankful for what God has provided us with, right? Contentment with what we’ve been given, no? So it seems contradictory to me, to go out and spend tons of money on special, holiday-specific food and decorations in order to show thanks for what we’ve been given. How does that show contentment? I don’t know. Call me crazy, but somehow it doesn’t sit right with me. The thing is, I have no idea what to do differently! Our culture has dictated the way we’re supposed to celebrate the holiday (and all holidays, really). It’s not about giving thanks, it’s about companies making money. Sure, there are a lot of great memories and family get-togethers, but why do we need a special day to show our love for our family and to spend time together?

I guess the big conflict for me lies in finding a way to observe the holiday without reinforcing the very worldly ideals of laziness, gluttony, greed and excess. I don’t have the answers, but my family is praying about it. We’re hoping God gives us some understanding soon, and gives us the ability to see the holiday through his eyes!

first thanksgiving