Thanksgiving could not get here early enough this year because unlike the past eight years, I am not hosting. One of my three older sisters is performing the honor today. Being as anal as I am, however, I had to check her plan, and intervene. Thanksgiving for me is not just a time to overindulge in the bounty of the land. It is also a time to savor the company of family and friends, as well as the generosity of God.
Then, why did a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses feel the need to canvas my neighborhood last night telling the community that we should not be observing this day. Yes, Thanksgiving as we observe it is a government-established holiday rooted in domestic terrorism and hypocrisy. However, the occasion for giving thanks cyclically is rooted deeply in human history across religions. One doesn’t even have to be particularly familiar with God to appreciate that. We naturally find our way back to the source of our blessings by simply being. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
There is an old song of the church that says “when I think about the Lord and all He’s done for me, my soul cries out ‘hallelujah!’” How could anyone not? We are in the midst of record unemployment, foreclosures, deterioration of the family, and global strife. Yes most of us will be welcomed at gatherings of loved ones, in the safety of a home, with the freedom to praise God—or not—in our own way. Complete meals are free for the asking from the overflow of benevolence of churches, community organizations, and individuals.
I stood in my door defiantly waiting for my turn to give an account of why I look forward to expressing my gratefulness to God. How dare anyone step with the intent of denying not only the right, but obligation, to reflect and express gratitude? And insult to injury is trying to come between me and a Honeybaked Ham. However, I didn’t get my turn because they know who abides in my house and avoid it as much as possible.
Thanksgiving is a deeply personal day. God has been too good for me not to take offense at someone seeking to forbid me from expressing it. The craziest part is they felt it their bounden duty as believers to do so. Had they come onto my porch, I would have challenged them to recount what God had done for them and dared them not to get happy. Just the idea that God not only desires fellowship with humanity, but came to earth dressed in mortality to suffer and die to secure our salvation is cause to lose one’s mind. God, who knows all about us, extends this amazing grace. Personally, I wouldn’t have done it. Not even to save myself.
Had the Witnesses fallen short, my testimony was ready to be offered freely. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17). There is no need for a special occasion to give thanks, but having one ensures the task does not get overlooked. Fortunately for them, the stores are still open.