My First Secular Thanksgiving


A few years back, I told my family that I could no longer travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Longer distance and more time constraints with a shift in jobs meant that my schedule wouldn’t allow for both to happen.

I have tried to switch up which holiday I travel, but the past few years, it has just worked better for my logistics to travel at Christmas and stay in Indiana for Thanksgiving. There is no lack of invitations, whether out of concern or pity, so I have yet to wonder where my turkey will be provided….or in the case of last year, rabbit, but that’s another story.

Since I did most of the cooking for my boss (I work as an in-home caregiver), I accepted the invite to join them and a few friends for the Thanksgiving meal. While my family traditions for Thanksgiving do not run deep, I have grown to appreciate the cheesy time of going around the table and saying what you are thankful for in the past year along with a time of prayer before the meal.

Neither of those were present yesterday, and I left the Thanksgiving feast feeling empty.

The meal was served, plates were filled, and the TV stayed on for the NFL games. No prayer. No thankfulness. It was a day to watch football and eat food other than pizza. My heart sank.

Is that really how people spend Thanksgiving? Have we in America lost our ability to focus for 5-10 minutes on what we are thankful for and that there might be someone to whom we should be thankful other than our bank account? Is the day really just about having a big turkey dinner?

Yes, I am well aware that every year more historical research shows that our perception of Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Indians is inaccurate. Yet, regardless of how whacked out our history teachers and books get on the subject, I find the principle and intent good – recognize your blessings, let others know of your thankfulness and gratefulness, and celebrate your blessings.

It seems we as an American culture are continually preparing to celebrate so many little things that we now fail to save up and do a few things really big and really well. We have slipped into habits of mediocrity, and regretfully, I do not have anything to offer as a solution.

Thus, the only thing I can offer is what I would have hoped to have said if there had been a time of sharing what I was thankful for in the last year. And blogs exist for this type of thing…here I go:

Glory to God for all He has given me this year! The ability to find healing. The ability to travel safely to see a beloved friend. A direction for a new career and life. Helping me in the process of changing bad habits. Allowing me to know his presence in the roughest of times. Constantly urging me to continue in pursuing my gifts. For opening my eyes to see the beauty of His Creation. For the prayers of His Saints. For the concern of friends and wisdom of my leaders. For reminding me to give back to Him. For his forgiveness, mercy, and grace. The ability to Commune in His Church.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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