This post is not about those who begin celebrating Christmas on November 1st.
This post is not about those who think you should wait till after Thanksgiving.
This post is not about those who think you shouldn’t express your opinion either way.
No matter when we put up the tree, listen to Christmas music, or start binging the Hallmark network, Thanksgiving is a holiday that we should not ignore. Here are five reasons why I believe Christians can, and should, make much of Thanksgiving.
- Thankfulness is one of the most repeated commands in the Bible. When we express our gratitude to God we are obeying His commands. Of course we do this throughout the year, but this holiday is a chance to highlight our gratefulness.
- Thanksgiving is a celebration modelled in the Bible. Some find distinct similarities betwen Thanksgiving and the Feast of Tabernacles (or Ingathering). Whether or not this was the original intent of the Pilgrims, the Feast of Tabernacles was certainly an expression of gratitude for harvest.
- Thankfulness is about others, and especially the Other. Thanksgiving is becoming one of the last “others-centered” holidays in our country. This isn’t to condemn other holidays, but they are increasingly tainted by the self-centered greed of our culture. On this day we have the opportunity to place value on other than ourselves.
- Gratitude is rooted in the nature of God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) My expression of gratitude can remain unchanged regardless of my circumstances because of the unchanging nature of God – His grace, His goodness, and His glory.
- Thanks is the appropriate response to grace. Thanks may be extended, but is hardly expected when an equal exchange takes place. When unmerited favor is involved, gratefulness is in order!
So, light up the tree, or don’t. Turn on the carols, or don’t. Watch it snow while they kiss, or don’t.
But DO celebrate Thanksgiving!