Hello again…

Thanks to my new son-in-law, I am now trying to blog more easily and regularly. (However, unfortunately, in the transition we have lost comments on previous posts.) We will see. The problem is that I am technologically challenged…But now a thought and question.

Recently Martin Marty has raised the question (not the first to do so) whether Thanksgiving is in any sense a Christian “holiday.”

Is it? Or is it simply a sample of American civil religion, with a generic God who blesses extravagantly but does not demand anything like commitment or covenant or allegiance? If that’s what it is, can we redeem it and Christianize it somehow? Through specific practices?

3 Responses to “Hello again…”

  1. Alex says:

    I think thanksgiving is a family holiday. It is one of the few times of the year where the kids come home from college, the family goes to see grandma, where everyone actually sits together at a dinner table and has a conversation, and the family remembers to give compliments to the chef. These are important rituals, that our society needs. Thankfully thanksgiving isn’t particularly commercial or built up, you get an influx of supermarket adds, but that is forgivable.

    I think that as Christians we can add to the holiday by inviting their family in Christ to dinner, the poor, the lonely, the people away from home, without a home. They can pray prayers of thankfulness at church, and use it as a time to remember that everyone isn’t as blessed as us, maybe read Bread for the World’s hunger report:http://www.hungerreport.org/2009/.

    Besides that I don’t really think thanksgiving needs saving. We Christians can participate in it, augment it, love Christ’s family in it.

  2. MJG says:

    Alex, I actually basically agree with you and admire what your house does for Thanksgiving. What I sometimes hear from people, even in churches, however, is “This is ONLY a family [and national] holiday” not a time for hospitality to outsiders, or (implicitly), “See how blessed/propserous we are? God must really love us here in America [i.e., more than people in those other countries who have and consume much less].”

  3. Alex says:

    I agree with what you say also. That is why I admire what Bread for the World does. I think that when the Gospel is lived there is no room for statements of the sort: “The Gospel doesn’t apply here”. Which in one way is comforting, because we don’t have to live a split personalitly, we can work on putting Christ at the center. Of course I know is there, but that doesn’t keep one from speaking out against bad argument.

    I think thanksgiving doesn’t have to be as elaborate as what our house does, inviting homeless people that we know over for dinner. Last year you invited brothers and sisters in Christ who were away from family and therefore didn’t have anyone else to spend it with. My pastor and his wife invited anyone from the church who didn’t have a place to go this year, and therefore a person from Nigeria had a place to be. I think it is little things where Christians differentiate themselves from the rest of society, as more globally minded, part of a larger family. I guess it comes down to believing in the concrete body of Christ.

    One of the goals of our community is to in live an intentional family with brothers in sisters in Christ. Hopefully one of the side-effects of that is to remind people of how Christians can be different. We had so much fun at our little thanksgiving party. It didn’t feel like service in any way. Just time with loved ones.

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