Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, for telling others and ourselves how thankful we are for things in our lives. Usually it’s a time for looking at the bigger picture and declaring how thankful we are for various “big” things.
“I’m thankful that I got a job.”
“I’m thankful for peaceful evenings.”
“I’m thankful for my family.”
There is no person that we could be thanking for these kinds of things…except God. No human, or even group of humans, could really take responsibility for these things and say, “You have that because of me.” Thankfulness is a quality that requires two people. Without God in the picture, all we have is a kind of happy feeling that says, “Man, I love the fact that I have this!” Without God, Thanksgiving Day is just Warm Fuzzies Day.
I recently read God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, a well-known atheist in America. He talks about places in life where we seem, coincidentally, to have exactly what we need. Many people have claimed that this shows God’s goodness in giving us what we need. But Hitchens claims just the opposite: that it shows there is no God because we get what we need without him.
This perspective would eliminate most of what we talk about at the Thanksgiving holiday. If someone decides to give me a bowl of soup, it makes sense for me to thank them. But if a coin is flipped and without anyone’s good will I am given the soup, where can my gratitude be directed? To the coin? There is no place for thankfulness in that case.
But of course we are thankful for the kinds of things mentioned above. As we celebrate this holiday, realize what a significant statement you are making by simply declaring what you’re thankful for. You are declaring that God is real-– and living like it.