Christians are honest. I know that it doesn’t always play out that way (or even most of the time!), but still, a peculiar characteristic of Christians is that they are honest – especially about our past. I believe that Christians ought to be first in line to confess to the world that what happened between the English settlers and the Natives of the Americas was not holy or God Ordained (as some histories tell it). We came in search of religious freedom, and we were ready to kill, slaughter, and enslave to get it. Something tells me this doesn’t honor God.
So what do Christians do about Thanksgiving, now? “Things aren’t that way now. Things have changed. Things are different. We didn’t commit those crimes. We should celebrate Thanksgiving and move on.”
Not so fast. I am not saying that Christians shouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with the prevailing culture. I am saying Christians are to be concerned about the “ways” in which we celebrate Thanksgiving.
Here are my 5 ways for Christians to celebrate Thanksgiving.
1> While your family is doing the usual “What are you thankful for this year?” why don’t Christians use that time to make confession? I think giving thanks is vital to our lives as Christians, but not at the expense of being confessional. It seems confession would have served the settlers well. Instead they used Thanksgiving as a mask to cover up or ignore sins.
2> Serve the poor. A good alternative to turning our attention inward and leaving it there (“me and my family!”) is to find ways to serve others in need. This is the kind of justice that Jesus was referring to when he said “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled” Who needs to be filled this season?
3> Perform an act of reconciliation with a Native American. (If you know one – don’t be a weirdo about it). A simple sorry would be a good place to start.
4> Eat vegetables. Seems a lot meat goes to waste this time of year. I am a meat-lover myself, and by no means a peta-person. But how many Turkeys die that don’t really need to. I don’t think mass-slaughter is what God had in mind when he gave us dominion. Perhaps a little responsibility would be refreshing to him?
5> Be Creative. Restore your imagination to God’s service. I’m sure you can find something to do that is peculiar to the status-quo and calls others around you to a higher standard and a picture of a counter-cultural way of life.