Last year my daughter helped shed some insights into Thanksgiving. And since she reminded me of her insights again this year, I thought I would share them with everyone. Enjoy!
Curiously, or typically rather in our politically correct society, she and her classmates weren’t told who they were supposed to be thankful to. Just to have a general attitude of thankfulness. But that raises an interesting question:
Thanks to whom?
My wife immediately recognized the problem such an ungrounded view of “general attitude of thankfulness” presents. We’ve been teaching our children to pray and they typically begin “Thank you Jesus…” Right from the start we’ve tried to make them understand that what we have is not our own1 and that the thanks we offer has a specific object in the form of Jesus Christ, the creator and sustainer of all things Colossians 1:16-17.
Whether you have a deity such as Krishna, Allah, or the I AM of the Bible, or an inanimate object like genetics, “mother earth”, or an impersonal force like fate, our thanks must be directed at something.
So this season our goal has been to further instill (as much as possible with a 4 and 2 year old) the understanding that thanksgiving without an object is a contradiction in terms. Who knows, maybe they will be able to pass that bit of information on to their deistic friends. Wishful thinking, I know, but hey stranger things have happened.
- That is, not of our own making. We may earn the physical things we buy but the existence of those things is beyond our control. In fact, even the ability to gain the resources needed to obtain the things we are thankful for are beyond our control. So while we work hard and want to teach our children to do the same, we also want to teach them that every moment we’ve been given is a gift from above and we should be thankful for even the very breath in our lungs. [↩]