For What Reason – This Day of Giving Thanks?
by Jim Josephsen
Our whole universe was in a hot dense state. Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started … Wait … The Earth began to cool, the autotrophs began to drool, Neanderthals developed tools, we built a wall (we built the pyramids), Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries, that all started with the big bang! So goes the lyrics, as written and performed by the group Barenaked Ladies, of the theme song to a popular TV sitcom currently out, called The Big Bang Theory.
Are these lyrics simply whimsical; a farcical tune to entertain or is not a new generation being schooled in the religion of evolution. The whole universe and with that, life on this earth and eventually the development of Homo sapiens, all started with the big bang. So the theory advocates, being accepted as ‘the most important discovery in the whole wide world.’
The most important discovery; yet the debate is frequent and heated. The evidence of a big bang is unclear and the logic is convoluted. Scientists, astronomers alike argue the issue. Religionist versus atheists alike, vitriolic in their debate.
Closely related to the big bang theory is the theory of evolution. Since the Scopes Trials of 1925, the theory of evolution is requisite in public, state-funded schools and the conflict still continues today as 40% favor only teaching creationism and intelligent design in schools, while 32% oppose it. Twenty-nine percent have no opinion either way.
According to a YouGov.com poll recently obtained in July 2013, 37% of the respondents believe God created man in his present form. Twenty-five percent believe that humans evolved with God’s guidance in the process and 21% believe human beings evolved without the involvement of God. A Gallop poll taken back in May of 2012 found these percentages slightly different.
If the big bang is it; if evolution is the real deal, then logically God is out of the equation. And if God is not, then what need is there for Thanksgiving?
Is Thanksgiving Day nothing more than a charade, just a myth and folly, schemed by patriotic conservatives and fanatical Christians over the past two centuries?
Why observe a day of giving thanks? What need is there to select out one day each year, and in particular, the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, as it goes?
Is Thanksgiving Day simply an opportunity for the labor force to take a day off from work? An opportunity to gather with friends and family in a food frenzy, ingesting foods and libations to the point of dyspepsia? An opportunity to watch TV, traditionally to watch the various parades, which are scattered throughout the country or to watch key, selected NFL games? Is Thanksgiving an opportunity for retailers to increase their coffers?
Was Thanksgiving Day strategically positioned such that one day it would become a springboard, launching the spending public toward Christmas. Today, Thanksgiving Day is a pivotal day in the scope of consumerism. Notice, the day after Thanksgiving called Black Friday (November 29, 2013 this year) is critical to retailers. Then the following day, Saturday (November 30, 2013), called Small Business Saturday and not to be left out, the proceeding Monday, is known as cyber- Monday (December 2, 2013).
According to StatisticBrain.com, approximately 51 million turkeys will be consumed, while some $2,375,000,000.00 will be spent for Thanksgiving dinners collectively across the United States. It is estimated some 10 million greeting cards will be distributed for Thanksgiving. All this, for what reason?
If the whole universe and life on this earth and the evolution of human beings all started with the big bang, then why all this activity; why the push to recognize the giving of thanks one day out of the year?
Is Thanksgiving simply a forced opportunity to give thanks to those around you; to your co-workers, to your significant other; to your children, to your parents; to the garbage man; and you get the point? Is Thanksgiving Day the day you are obligated to exhibit gratitude and conviviality?
Once again, the logical question is; why then does it have to be on the fourth Thursday in November? Why just that day and not any other day? Why not give thanks every day?
Psychologists have studied the effects of gratitude on one’s physical health and psychological well-being. The practice of gratitude, as part of one’s character has yielded the following: a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure; greater self-esteem, more optimism, a greater sense of compassion and empathy; a more forgiving attitude; fewer feelings of depression and loneliness. These benefits are a few of the many which have been realized.
To express gratitude and offer thanks benefits the giver in many ways. And of course, the recipient of gratitude benefits greatly. It is an integral part of human nature to want to be appreciated.
We can give thanks every day of the year. What then is special about Thanksgiving Day?
Thanksgiving Day is a living witness to this nation that God exists. From the time of the first gathering in the fall, in the early 17th century, God has been instrumental in the growth and development of this new land, the United States of America. And no amount of theory will ever expunge that fact.
Every element of this day-long celebration called Thanksgiving has been made possible and is sustained because God has allowed it to be.
From God comes all that you need to live, all that sustains life; all being purposefully and intelligently designed and created. From God comes all strength, wealth and provisions, the blessings from the deep, the rain from above. From Him is provided wisdom, health and well-being. From God comes laws that protect, preserve and promote life. By God’s blessings, we eat, drink, move and have our being. And from God comes correction, punishment and chastisement; always given for the benefit of the recipient.
No doubt, you will observe Thanksgiving. How will you celebrate this day?
Will you celebrate Thanksgiving as simply a day off from work? As a day spent with family and friends, eating, drinking and watching TV. Perhaps you will prepare for your shopping spree. Perhaps you will just mellow out.
How about doing something different this year on Thanksgiving Day.
How about finding time to fall to your knees, humbly before God, giving Him thanks and doing so with the following admonition in mind.
Oh give thanks unto the Eternal, for he is good and his mercy endures forever … Oh that men would praise the Eternal for His goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving and declare his works with rejoicing (Psalms 107:1, 21-22).
Much like we humans who appreciate the words ‘thank you,’ so God wants to hear the words “thank you” from you.
Thanks be to God for the mighty works He has done; many of which you are the recipient.
For what reason – this day of giving thanks?
Because God is the creator of our whole universe. God has given you life and all that you have.
The least you can do is give Him thanks!