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Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving: Part 1

November 26, 2017

So another Thanksgiving Day is over. All your relatives and friends from out of town are safely on their way to their respective homes and the last of the leftovers are almost gone. Now it’s time to relax for one more day or maybe gear yourself up for another week of work. Oh well. The time off from work was nice while it lasted and I hope that your Thanksgiving Day was as good as mine. This post will be the first of a three-part series.

My dad has a saying that life’s all about the 3 F’s: “faith, family, and friends” so I thought what better way than to organize these posts into those 3 categories?

Faith

I’ll just come right out and say that I think I’m agnostic. While I was raised as a devout Baptist, recently I have been having some pretty serious doubts that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired “Word of God”.

For example, all those stories of Moses and the Israelites trekking through the wilderness led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night just seem made-up. If the stories aren’t made-up, God would be still doing all that magical stuff to convince people that he actually exists today.

I mean if those tricks worked before to convince a whole people group to follow him, I would think that in our day if some supernatural skywriting that said “God Exists” inexplicably appeared in the sky every day for a year in different colors, God could gain a lot more converts than his current method of recruitment.

All that to say, I’m coming into a transitional phase in my life where I have to really start questioning if religion is going to be a large component of my life or not. So far I’ve worked out an agreement with my wife that I’ll go every other week to church and I mostly honor my side of the bargain, but around the holidays it feels especially amazing to be able to just sleep in on a Sunday and not have to worry about setting an alarm to wake you up.

What does this have to do with Thanksgiving you ask? Well for one, it’s awkward when every year you are volunteered to pray for the meal. What should I say- “I’m actually in between religious schools of thought at the moment, is there anyone else that would like to say the blessing?”

What makes it weirder is that my dad always loudly declares that I should say the blessing because I’m the “most holy.” I’m pretty sure that is his way of making sure that he doesn’t get chosen to say it. My alternative theory is that my dad just wants to get his money’s worth after paying for me to go to 4 years of college to only end-up with a bible degree.

I don’t want to make a big deal about saying the prayer though or cause a scene so I dutifully have everyone gather around the table and then have them hold hands while we bow our heads. Then I rattle off a perfunctory prayer that goes like this:

“Dear Heavenly Father. I thank you for this food and the hands that prepared it. I thank you that we can spend time together with family and friends. I thank you for your son Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Most people seem genuinely relieved when I’m done that I haven’t recited a decidedly long prayer or gotten super spiritual either. Although next year if I’m picked again, I might just start messing with people by praying for an excessively long time complete with long silent pauses or include as many big fancy ridiculous words as I can. Either that, or maybe see how many times I can work “meow” into the blessing like in Super Troopers.

I don’t want you to leave you with the impression that I am some type of anti-religious zealot now or that I’m ungrateful though. On the contrary, I have a great life and truly can’t number the amount things that I am thankful for.

But here’s a few: I have a beautiful wife that loves me unconditionally. I have a decent job that lets me pay our bills and own a house that I can be proud of. I never have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from. I am surrounded by friends and family that care deeply about me.

So overall, as much as I may not like it, I guess I’ll continue to make an exception once or twice a year to give the traditional holiday blessings. In my mind, I’ll just take those few moments to stop and think about how truly great and blessed my life really is.

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