Guest editorial by Tim Swaringen
What is Thanksgiving? An American tradition mostly, which for probably the majority of our land brings thoughts of: turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, all sorts of delicious foods all around, adult tables and kid tables, full bellies, warm homes, game time, family time, afternoon naps, football all day, and don’t forget the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade; with Santa Claus.
In today’s world, as I’ve seen oh so much across Facebook and talking to people around town, people have all but decided to forget about Thanksgiving and skip straight to Christmas. They even go as far as to write out a calendar stating that all of November is Christmas except the few days around Thanksgiving. I know that Thanksgiving doesn’t get all the good PR that Christmas or even Halloween gets. It doesn’t have any big hit movies or songs about it. (Ben Rector did just release a new Thanksgiving song which is Awesome) I mean I love all of those Charlie Brown holiday classics too. It’s as if you could make the euphemism that Thanksgiving is the “gum on the bottom of your shoe” that nobody wants. Oh, they’ll give Thanksgiving its three days, the fourth Thursday in November with the Wednesday preceding and the Friday following to do all of the above stated things. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Christmas and everything that goes with it! Ask anyone in my family, I am the Christmas nut in the family. I want all those little trinkets and I want to put up all the decorations right after Thanksgiving is over.
But why are we pushing ahead and seemingly forgetting Thanksgiving?!
Google it, or ask Siri why the pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving. You’ll find that it was a celebration for a bountiful crop and harvest that year. The Wampanoag people had helped the pilgrims learn how to basically survive the new land. Both the Wampanoag and pilgrims together decided to give thanks for the bountiful crops and harvest to God. They knew exactly what for and to whom a thanks should be given.
We do have the “Harvest Festival.” We come together as a community to celebrate the harvest and our community’s life blood, but do we really celebrate harvest? In my opinion, no. It’s a day of gathering together to wave, say hello, throw some candy, pick up some candy; and then indulge in some food and entertainment in the park. Ending the day with crowning a new Harvest Festival queen. I thoroughly enjoy all of these activities and gatherings.
But who or what are we actually celebrating?
I don’t see a community wide prayer during this time thanking and praising God for the harvest that He’s given us and the one He’s providing now. I don’t see a line of our farmers and farm workers coming down the parade line being cheered on and told how much they are appreciated. Honestly, now I’m not a farmer, but I believe several of them aren’t there, because they are still out in their fields tending to the crops and livestock while the rest of the town celebrates.
We do normally have the community Thanksgiving service which moves from church to church around town every year, which is Awesome!! We’ve even had the Thanksgiving meal that’s been served and delivered to our community too. Although I believe both of these things probably won’t happen this year.
After a year, such is 2020 has been, I believe we need to not skip over this Thanksgiving holiday that will soon be here, but instead, begin a new tradition which is really the old tradition that has just been lost or even pushed to the outhouse.
This year, let us not push quickly past the time that we are in right now. There has been so much pain, so much grief, so many heartaches, so many sick and dying. We’ve lost so many wonderful people this year. I also believe that we’ve just about lost ourselves, our morals, our character in all the hubbub of this year’s goings on.
Let us give thanks to God for the blessings he has bestowed upon us. Let us give thanks to God for our family and friends, whether they’re near or far, mixed and matched, altogether or over a phone. Maybe that family comes in the form of complete strangers or coworkers this Thanksgiving, it’s all still worth giving praise to God.
I have not counted it myself, and it probably depends on what version you read; but just by googling it (trust that as much as you want) the Bible references thanks, give thanks, and thanksgiving over 100 times in the Old Testament alone.
God alone is the one who blesses our land. God alone is the one that says when and where a rain will fall and a bountiful crop will be had. God alone is the only one who can save our country from this turmoil. God alone is the only one who is due all the glory and praise and thanks.
Let us give thanks!!