Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Hate Turkey-Day

I love Thanksgiving, but I hate Turkey-Day.

"Gobble-gobble!" Shut your face.

It's called Thanksgiving. It isn't a festival of turkey meat. (Even though turkey tastes wonderful, we do not celebrate the turkey.)

Christmas isn't Present Day or the Tree Day (or the increasingly secularization of the holy day, The Winter Festival). Easter isn't Bunny Day or the Egg Festival. I even take time to say Independence Day when my friends and family reflexively say Fourth of July. To do otherwise trivializes the importance of the holiday... the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Kids may call it Turkey Day, schools may encourage such language, and some atheists and agnostics may wish to avoid any religious meaning... but it is Thanksgiving, a day of thanks not a day of turkey. We recognize the hardships in our lives and in the world. We recognize that which we are grateful for. We humble ourselves to those whose efforts tirelessly bring grace into our lives, freedom to those oppressed by tyranny, and joy to those in despair. We recognize that God created us, that He endowed us with rights, and that He watches over us.

The holiday is not a Catholic celebration. It is not a Protestant holiday. It is neither Jewish or Baptist. This is an American religious holiday. Religious Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The pilgrims, the colonists, and the Founders understood the value of religion... it is this quality found in the spirit of America and her people. It is a religious holiday created by the faithful.

I have a theory. The Founders understood the problem with a state religion, as seen in England under George III. The Founders didn't want the (Federal) government to establish a religion, but expected the people to recognize God... that America would stand great with faith.

This will surely be misunderstood so I should refine this concept at a later time. Mitchell at Our Word heard me mention this topic earlier this year. He encouraged me to write it all down at the time... so this is what I get for putting it off. ;)

Anyway, back to the nonsense of calling Thanksgiving Turkey Day. Such people who use the words Turkey Day tend to be wary of religion (Christianity in particular), have trouble with their family, act rather cutesy, or some combination of the three. This is merely a generalization, so don't get bent out of shape... unless you're a Godless Commie. ;)

Failing to recognize the religious element of Thanksgiving (let alone the religious component of the founding of our country) is to willingly ignore the nose on your face. Note, I'm not saying that folks who don't celebrate Thanksgiving as a religious holiday are ruining the holiday... you can secularize Thanksgiving. I suspect a number of folks do. However, being thankful for your family and home and career and friends and opportunities leaves you thanking... who?

Thanking your parents, siblings, children, and relatives shows respect and loyalty to your family. Nothing wrong with that. Thanking your friends for their companionship also is good.

Who do you thank for your career? Your house? Your opportunities? Do you thank yourself? That would reduce Thanksgiving to a holiday of smugness and conceit, not humility and gratitude.

We thank those whom we are indebted to. We thank those responsible for our material success, such as our employers, our benefactors, our patrons, etc.

We also thank those responsible for our other successes. As a country, we thank our Creator for His generosity, His protection, His wisdom, and His love. Once a year isn't a heavy burden.

Enough with the cheers of Happy Turkey Day. Wish our fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving.

(Besides, I love a Thanksgiving meal of ham or meatballs.)


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