“To Whom Do We Give Thanks?”
I pass the local Unitarian Universalist church every time I head to town and I always look at their sign to see the sermon topic for the week. I imagine we don’t agree on much when it comes to theology, but I think the title for last Sunday was right on the mark.
This won’t be a column about how Thanksgiving winds up squished between a witch on a broomstick and Santa on a sleigh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as fired up about the holiday’s minor league status as anybody, but something else has been preying on my mind. It’s this: Thanksgiving forces us to choose sides. You must decide if there’s Someone to thank.
Halloween is a religious holiday for some, but for most Americans it’s a time for small goblins to get free candy and adults to look ridiculous. Christmas developed a split personality long ago, with the Christ Child and Santa Claus vying for dominance. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” vs. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
But we haven’t figured out how to strip Thanksgiving of its meaning. Yes, each year more retailers decide to start “Black Friday” 24 hours early, and I cede the fact that the fourth Thursday of November is at risk of becoming National Shopping Day. But Thanksgiving by definition involves thankfulness.
To whom do I give thanks? I thank my husband for opening the door for me, the lady at Target for carefully wrapping the picture frames I purchased, my sons for remembering my birthday, my friends for listening to my rambles. But who do I thank for those people? For both stranger-to-stranger kindness and love and friendship woven through decades?
For me, the answer is as clear as Wyoming's sub-zero air. There is only One to Whom I must give thanks on all days and in all circumstances.
Thank You, God, for everything.