Thanksgiving { Born 1621 – Died ?? }

13
Nov
2013
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Thanksgiving { Born 1621 – Died ?? }

  As much as I hate to say it, in our modern consciousness, it appears Thanksgiving has been declared dead.   Just a couple of days after Halloween, I went in search of artificial pumpkins to decorate my Thanksgiving fireplace mantle. After scouring dozens of discount and craft stores, I came up nearly empty handed, save for the 2-for-1 Halloween hangover pumpkins I found at the bottom of a clearance bin at the local Dollar Store.   If it’s 2-for-1 at the Dollar Store you know you’re really reaching.   To make matters worse, my search led me to the mall that same week. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Santa himself next to the Veterans’ Day sale gear.   Now I’m the kind of person (read: bargain hunter) who shops for Christmas gifts nearly year round. I realize that I’m the direct beneficiary of Christmas’s early arrival in the retail sector.   But does it really surprise you that as a culture we’re officially ignoring a holiday devoted to thankfulness and contentedness in favor of a (secularized) celebration of stuff? That there’s solid evidence we’re moving past our gratitude-filled foundations and settling into a post-modern entitlement?   That’s not my American dream.   As a kid, I remember thinking that if we could just get through Thanksgiving then we’d get to the really good stuff. Just ask any kid to rank their favorite holidays and I assure you Thanksgiving ranks far behind the more candy- and present- laden days of the year. But of course, our parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/neighbors were there to remind us just how blessed we were and taught us to slow down for a moment and appreciate what we had.   But now it seems those well-meaning guides have been silenced. The “kid” in society has been let loose and is trampling all over Thanksgiving like Black Friday shoppers at a Wal-Mart. If you look at the evidence around you, you might believe that Thanksgiving is now just an obligatory event where we show up to gorge ourselves on a calorically- dense meal and head home with visions of Cyber Monday deals dancing in our heads.   This year, I’m determined to actively change the way my children experience Thanksgiving by shifting our focus from Thanksgiving the noun to thanksgiving the verb. Jesus told us in Matthew 10:8b, “Freely you have received, freely give.” We readily open our souls to God’s grace when we recognize our need for salvation is met in Christ. Jesus reminds His disciples here that the best way to give thanks for the hope we now have isn’t to sit around saying “thank you” for it- it’s to get to work giving hope to others.   Or, as Dr. Kimmel rephrases in Raising Kids for True Greatness, “True greatness looks upward, then outward.”   Thanks + giving? Thanks = giving.   To the Pilgrims, this meant sharing a great portion of one of the most precious (and sometimes scarcest) resources they had with those who had helped them to secure it. I see how this metaphorical feast is becoming lost on many of us in today’s (largely) well-fed America. It is easy to take for granted the life of bounty that only the most recent generations have known. It’s my hope that by refocusing our families on what it means to truly give thanks through service to others that we might be able to get things back on track for future generations- and get us headed towards true greatness once again.   How have you tried to cultivate a servant’s heart in your child?    

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