Wednesday the 25th of November. The biggest travel day of the year. Whether you are working or have to hit the road for the holiday, ELVISNIXON encourages you to take a moment and consider the entire point of the holiday.
Studies show that the happiest people are grateful people. We all have so much to be thankful for, yet our society and culture promote a constant sense of anxiety. We are fed the lies of materialism so that we will be good consumers. The one day set aside to recognize all of the blessing we have is followed by "black Friday," the holiday of conspicuous consumption. Thanksgiving is given short shrift with the lame sobriquet of "turkey day," but we are given the key imperative. We are told to shop. News media broadcast images of shopping malls with long lines of disgruntled shoppers. These are not happy, grateful people. These are consumers. Our self image and self worth have been linked to our spending habits and amusements. We are, as in the title Neil Postman's famous book, amusing ourselves to death.
This year, instead of borrowing money to buy the things that you do not need, to impress the people who do not care about you, stop and reflect. Muse. Musing is the idea of meditating, or thinking deeply, in an inspirational manner. Our culture of death wants us to be "a-mused," a being the prefix which makes the subject "without" as in "amoral" or "a-historical," two things that characterize our mass media.
Muse on the fact that you have eyes to see, and ears to hear. That you have family and those who love and care about you. That you are free to search the Scriptures for answers without fear of government agencies kicking in the door or mobs of zealots destroying your house of worship. Be thankful for your friends and family and for those fighting for you. Our soldiers overseas deserve our thanks, and those on the front lines in the war against gangs and crime deserve our gratitude.
Abraham Lincoln endorsed the notion of a national day of thanksgiving and appealed to "the better angels" of our national conscience. In his Second Inaugural address, Mr. Lincoln asked a question later paraphrased by Bob Dylan: "With God on Our Side." The South believed it had God on their side. The Northerners believed that they too had God on their side. Atheists will use this seeming paradox to contend since there is a disagreement, there is no God. That profoundly ignorant and arrogant statement confuses the epistemological (the question of what one knows or can know) with the ontological (the idea of what is real or true). Just because people debate an issue does not mean that the issue is not real or true, or that there is no right answer. Mr. Lincoln resolved the debate when he asked not whose side God was on but if we are on God's side.
We as a culture have strayed so far from the original meaning of the holiday that we confuse it with poultry, pig skin, and perusing the mall. This year, stop and give thanks to the One who is the reason for Thanksgiving.