Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The War on Thanksgiving

You may have read a couple of things about some "War on Christmas". Obviously that's nonsense. Christmas seems to start earlier every year, with some people playing Christmas music as soon as the pumpkins have been smashed. And it really, reaally bothers me. Not because I don't like Christmas, or at least what Christmas represents, but because it pushes Thanksgiving out by the wayside. And when people do talk about Thanksgiving, they almost always end up talking about the food they're going to eat. 

Christians will say that they love Christmas so much because of the historical event it is about, but still, to start playing Christmas music well before Thanksgiving relegates Thanksgiving to being nothing more than the threshold of Christmas. And I think this happens for many reasons. 

The most painful one is that I think our culture genuinely does not care about giving thanks anymore. People talk about "being thankful" during this time, but who are they really thanking? If they are not thanking a real, loving God, then who are they thanking? Their ancestors? Evolution? Themselves? Why is it that we cannot even wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start playing Santa music and thinking about the Christmas gifts we are going to give/receive?

The fact is, America today struggles to have even a single day, much less a holiday season, dedicated to giving thanks. And this has spread into Christian culture as well. We can say things like, "I love Christmas because of what it's really about," but the average person who hears you playing Christmas music does not immediately think, "Hey! They love Jesus!" They think, "Ooh! Christmas! Happiness! Presents! Christmas trees! Ohh... family.." Or whatever. 

We can't even wait until Thanksgiving day is over to go shopping and participating in the materialist dream.

I'm not saying Christmas music is wrong, or playing it early is inherently bad. I'm also not saying that the Thanksgiving holiday is rooted in a good historical background.

But the point of Thanksgiving encompasses and then goes beyond the point of Christmas. Christmas is a time to thank God for the life of Jesus --- Thanksgiving is a time to thank God for the air we breathe, the life we lead, the grace we receive. And it is unfortunate in the extreme that both society and Christians have forgotten how to truly give thanks.

Despite whatever good intentions you may have, sadly, playing Christmas music just helps feed our culture of entitlement. Heck, Verizon has now announced ThanksGETTING. I... I just... Ewyuch! 

So please, don't forget. Don't get sucked into Christmas before giving God the time of day to say, "Thank you." 

We already give a solid month to Christmas, materialism, trees, presents, snow, Santa, mistletoe, wreaths, stockings, etc. Can't we give a single day to thanking our Creator?

And finally, maybe this Christmas season, think about what really happened when Christ was born two thousand years ago. It's not all about joy! It's, in fact, not about happiness! ACTUALLY, it's about darkness! It's about a spot of joy in the midst of a broken, dark world! It is about redemption in the midst of pain. It's certainly not about pretending life is good. It's not about pretending everything is happy. It's not about gathering a whole, unbroken family around a table for a meal. It's about the light in the darkness, the sweet in the bitter, the life coming out of a dead world. 

Song of the Day: Thank You, by Hillsong United

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