Thursday, November 25, 2004

A polite nod to our American Neighbours

who seem to have gotten it all wrong about when Thanksgiving actually is.

If we Canadians only spoke of thanksgiving on our holday, Americans would never get a chance to see a Canadian perspective on the issue.

Some American Christians are fixated on how the Act that instituted Thanksgiving makes it a religious holiday. This, to me, is a nice bit of historical trivia, but not very usefu in any kind of public or political discourse about the role of God in society. The judges in both North American countries have pretty well abandoned the notion that the ideas and ideals of the framers of constitutions have any bearing on how those documents should be applied now. That being the case, the historic roots of Thanksgiving, while they may be true, are for all practical purposes irrelevant.

Other American Christians focus on simply the notion of being thankful. Have an attitude of gratitude. That's sweet. Too sweet. It pretty well amounts to a kind of view of life that has more to do with prozac than it does any real recognition of what being thankful really means.

What does it mean? Well it doesn't just mean being thankful for things. Any one and everyone can be thankful for anything and everything. But being thankful is really about being thankful to someone. God. The LORD.

Thanksgiving is really a recognition of God's providence, how He provides for us. We tend to make it more about how we have a lot of stuff. We celebrate the gifts and all but ingore the giver. Maybe we need to focus a bit more on the Lord's Prayer for Thanksgiving. That prayer asks God for His providence, to give us the bread that we need for the day, but before that there is a reminder that God stands in a particular relationship to us (He is our Heavenly Father), and that His Name is to be exalted.

I don't think we can really be thankful for God's providence if we fail to keep those two things in mind.

What do you think?


1 comment:

Jordan said...

Well put. I to have fallen into this strange idea that thankfulness is enough. Somehow even in my present environment it is possible to ignore the giver.

Also the idea of what we are thankful for seems to be important. I mean I am thankful that God chooses to provide my education and my food but does he really want thanks for everything that happens here on earth. I am thinking of the rappers that preach promiscuity, drugs, and outright sin, they follow this behaviour with a hearty thank-you to God for giving them the talent. It seems that the human condition often leeds one into being thankful for our transgressions.

Anyway its just a thought. Keep up the posting I look forward to them.