REWIND: Why I Do Not Like Thanksgiving Day, Which Is a Crock

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First published on November 27, 2008

THINK ABOUT IT

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing
give thanks in all circumstances
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Would someone please tell me what good “Thanksgiving Day” is for a practicing Christian?

There is nothing wrong with a national day of thanksgiving for the good of the country, but if it is to be religious, it is an insult to my faith. If it is secular, that’s fine. But – don’t go making a religious day out of it.

Anyone who knows me knows I think as a day of thanks, Thanksgiving Day is a crock. I’m not even going to get into the whole sexist notion that the women-folk labor in the kitchen while the men-folk linger in the living room in front of a warm fire, chowing down on sausage balls and coffee. Then they all moan and groan that they can’t eat another bite and lumber off for a nap while the women do all the cleaning. Nap over, the men need sustenance for the football games. Once again women are consigned to the kitchen to fix a snack, serve it and clean up after it. Football over, the men now need their dinner. And the women go, fix dinner, and watch the men stuff their faces and discuss how much they ate. They are exhausted and wallow off to bed, after being slopped like a bunch of pigs. The women, who have been on their feat since 4AM must finish cleaning up the mess, then they can sit down for a minute or two.

Thank heaven my grandmother Froehlich had the good sense to ban all forms of sporting activities from her home and her television on national holidays. (Parades were okay, though). The only exception was baseball on the 4th of July. If anyone wanted to watch football, they were consigned to my aunt’s house, in disgrace. My mother continued the tradition. So has my sister. You see, we are a baseball family, going back to the turn of the century and my great-grandfather Froehlich.

I really dislike Thanksgiving Day.

When I owned the Mill Gallery, I opened at 1:30 every Thanksgiving afternoon. It was my biggest shopping day of the year. I would do several thousand dollars in business in just 3 hours. We’d get out the Champaign, the gourmet samples, and hope we did not run out of merchandise.

It all started the first year I was in business. I was up at the Mill just doing some work. The buzzer rang and what turned out to be one of my best customers was at the door with a car load of women. “We knew you would be here!” She then started calling her friends, telling them I was finally open. (I’d only been in business a few weeks). Before long the place was packed and I was begging several friends to come help me.

My advertising slogan became, “After you’ve finished dinner, come shop, and don’t go home until the turkeys have done the dishes. No football allowed!” I kept someone at the door of the gallery, to make sure the women who were leaving had called home to see if the men had done their dishes. If the report was that there were still dishes to do, they were given another Champaign cocktail and told to continue shopping. Most did just that!

If you go back to the original “Thanksgiving” you will find that a handful of women were consigned to cook and clean after the men, who all sat down for the meal. The women could not eat with the grown-ups, so they had to eat with the children, after all the men had been sated.

And thus began a dreadful tradition that continues to this day.

Thanksgiving is also a day that people make this dog and pony show about volunteering at the local food bank, serving food to the homeless, and the like. If they did this throughout the year, that’s a great thing to do. But if it is a one day only kind of thing, it is nothing but salve for the conscience.

Then we get to those pithy little lists the self-righteous like to pen so that the world can see they are thankful.

Bull*@#%!

I have about as much respect for those stupid lists as I do the person who advertises and publicizes their charitable “Christian” deeds. As Christians we are taught not to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. If we are doing charitable works for publicity for deductions they’re not really “good deeds” for the sake of doing something good. They’re for reciprocity and not giving in the purist form. We should never, ever expect any sort of a thank you for our giving or our good deeds. They should be done in the name of Christ and for the joy of being called “His”.

If you try to live your live according to Thessalonians, we are required to do the following:

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing
give thanks in all circumstances
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The mere fact of a single day of thanksgiving completely ignores these very important verses. It renders those verses worthless, impotent.

I try to live my live by the requirement that I rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks for everything. If my thanksgiving is limited to just one day – or a single pathetic thanksgiving list once a year – just to be a little more self-righteous than the next person, then I am thumbing my nose at one of the most important things we, as Christians, are required to do.

A single “Thanksgiving Day” just doesn’t cut it. It’s fine in a superficial sort of way, but if we are to be a Christian nation, then our “Thanksgiving Day” must be based on Thanks Be To God! If not, just call the day Turkey Day and be done with it. That way, I can give the whole day a pass. You can go watch your football and we will all be happy.

 

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