THANKSGIVING: It Teaches Us Something About Ourselves

Written by Wes Walker on November 25, 2021

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The disdain for all things traditionally American has blinded many activists to seeing the real value and meaning behind the traditions themselves. And even those who like it can lose sight of it in the chaos of busy-ness.

Christmas and Easter, naturally, are offensive to the militant secularist. And race grifters are hard at work scrubbing Columbus Day from our collective memory. Even the nation’s founding is falling prey to historical revisionists with the blatantly ahistorical 1619 Project.

Now, at Thanksgiving, these same people go back to their nearly inexhaustible storehouse of contempt to undermine this as well.

In case the ‘America is Evil’ grifters weren’t bad enough, or the revisionism of the Pilgrims, now we’ve got the ‘how do we ask if they’re vaccinated’ wrinkle being added into our conversations.

In the midst of all the noise and chaos, let’s remember WHY it’s Thanksgiving.

Here are the opening words of Lincoln’s proclamation.

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

Even in the midst of the Civil War, there is an acknowledgment of, and gratitude to, the goodness of Almighty God. We see the same response among the Pilgrims who survived to harvest after a brutal winter in which so many others had perished.

If that response seems like an old-fashioned and outdated idea to a sophisticated mind in the modern age, think again.

Have you ever seen something in nature that absolutely takes your breath away? Maybe Niagra Falls, or the Grand Canyon? Maybe the Northern Lights pulsing in the night sky, or the Milky Way shining down on the open desert? Maybe the crash of a wave from the ocean, or the beauty of an untouched forest?

That sense of awe you feel points you to something larger than yourself.

Even people who don’t consider themselves especially pious have shown the ‘thanksgiving reflex’. When things go ‘right’ in their world, for instance, it has become trendy to thank ‘the universe’.

It’s an obviously empty act, expressing appreciation to unthinking, colliding atoms beyond counting as though they could have consciously directed events in our lives, or have any capacity to receive our gratitude. It’s as ridiculous as belief in astrology, and for exactly the same reason.

So why would we do it?

We are social creatures, not merely in the sense of sharing the world with one another, but there is a deep instinct in humanity that overflows in praise and gratitude when things go right and calls out for help when things go badly.

As CS Lewis pointed out, our natural urges — thirst, hunger, and procreation for example — all point us to something real that will satisfy them. Why would this natural urge to express gratitude to the One Who Gave Us Good Things be any different?

This Thanksgiving, go ahead and enjoy the food, the family, and the football.

But in the midst of all of that, don’t forget the keep the ‘thanks’ in Thanksgiving … and consider what it tells you about yourself.

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