27 November 2008

My favorite holiday (part deux)

by Phil Johnson



wo years ago, I wrote this post, explaining why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In short, I said it is the one holiday that has not been hopelessly commercialized, secularized, and trivialized. No egg-laying bunnies, jolly elves, or quasi-omniscient, omnipresent fat men dominate this holiday's imagery. It's all about our thankfulness to God, and it's pretty hard to think of a way to reduce that to a humanistic concept.

It seems our culture's media moguls are trying, though. All the football commentators and newsmen have been carefully trained to refer to the holiday as "Turkey Day" instead of Thanksgiving Day (which is one of the reasons Johnson family tradition calls for pizza instead.)

Then last week whilst in Florida, I saw a television advert for a food-store chain that featured a long series of properly-diverse folks (ranging from lesbian "families" to biker gangs) standing around various Holiday tables giving thanks—to one another. They were all telling people in their "families" what they were grateful to one another for. That, evidently, is what a politically-correct, neatly secularized "Thanksgiving Day" is supposed to look like.

Telling our loved ones why we are grateful for them is not a bad idea, mind you—unless you see it as a substitute for thankfulness to God, which is what this day is supposed to remind us of.

Remember that today, and make the most of it.




Phil's signature

19 comments:

Mike Riccardi said...

It's all about our thankfulness to God, and it's pretty hard to think of a way to reduce that to a humanistic concept.

What's interesting about that, then, is that unbelievers have no part in celebrating Thanksgiving, because they're not really thankful to anybody... unless of course it's each other, which we see is a possibility.

At my church's Thanksgiving Eve service, they asked me to do a 10-15 minute "devotional" on thankfulness. I used Romans 1:18-21, in which Paul says that the natural, unbelieving man "did not honor God as God or give thanks," demonstrating a lack of thanksgiving (or worship/praise) is the very nature of unbelief / suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

So if thanklessness is a staple of the unbeliever's very nature, I find it quite interesting that still many people celebrate it. People toss around the notion of "being thankful" or "giving thanks," but the obvious question is: To whom are you thankful? And the obvious answer is: To the one from whom I receive.

But when that's not God first, foremost, and the fountain out of which all other thankfulness flows, that's not honoring Him as God (v. 21). That's honoring each other or themselves as gods.

Jmv7000 said...

Phil,

your the only other person I know whose favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and for the same reason too! :) Gather a few more names and we can have a club. . . lol :)

The Advocate said...

I'm proud that someone else also does pizza on Thanksgiving instead of turkey.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

Mmm, pizza....

I have to find a way to get down to Sacramento [edit: D'oh! Southern California], just so I can sample some of Dan Phillips' [edit: D'oh! Phil Johnson's] famous pizza.

[Dan should be pleased that for once Phil was mistaken for him, and not the other way around!]

Happy thanksgiving, thanks being to God for his wholly unmerited grace, mercy, and providence, mediated by the person and gracious work of His Son Jesus Christ. Amen!

DJP said...

It's rare enough, true.

Phil and I could have a pizza-off.

Marie said...

Mmm, so you've noticed the "giving thanks" without an object of one's gratitude, too, eh? My kids are in public school and it's quite creative the myriad ways the curriculum skirts the original, spiritual origin of the holiday. The kids write all about things they are grateful for, but never to Whom they are grateful. I turned the tables on them this year, when my 3rd-grader had to write a Happy Time essay on Thanksgiving Day. I taught him the full history, and he wrote all about the Separatists, freedom of worship, and why "Jesus Christ is always the head of the Church". I was proud, and his teacher gave him an A, although his essay wasn't published.

On a different note, recently I noticed that "Tur-Duc-Hen" monstrosity for the first time in the supermarket here, and it makes me think of you guys. I thought it was a joke that you'd invented when you talked about it last year! Nope, they really do exist - and retail for $59.99. I'm plenty thankful for all my blessings without three types of meat crammed into each other, thanks. :)

Tim Bertolet said...

You know, the other day I was wondering personally if Thanksgiving has or hasn't been commercialized yet or not. This was before I read your post.

I don't know that I'm as optimistic as you since not only is Friday "Black Friday" but now pretty much every commercial you see on Thursday during parades and football games is for deals and sales. Not only this some stores are beating the rush by opening late at night or even during Thanksgiving day itself.

I wonder how thankful we really are (collectively) if up to and through the day we are pushing big sales and commerce. I don't know. Maybe I'm just pessimistic.

Hope everybody had a good T-day.

Douglas said...

When my wife was pregnant with our youngest son, she wasn't up to cooking, so I grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. I got a few comments like “how can you have Thanksgiving without turkey?”

Trevbot said...

Phil, I think I saw that commercial you were talking about as well. It annoyed me that where before, the head of the family stood up to say a prayer of thanks to God, now it was just "saying a few words," which is great on other terms, but worthless when substituted for real thanks to God.
The Macy's Parade is also one of those things on Thanksgiving that's over commercializing it. This year there was a musical act where an animatronic Kermit sang "I Believe in Santa Claus" with the help of some song and dance people. I decided to drown the inanity out with my iPod and read a book by Bruce Ware.

DJP said...

Ah; you heard the Amphibiolic Creed.

Stefan said...

Somehow, I just don't see the unique genius of Jim Henson of having countenanced something quite so cheesy, were he still alive today.

Although there was one episode of The Muppet Show that ended with Spike Milligan (I think) in a number with a cast of a thousand muppets, singing It's a Small World After All. That's gotta come close.

Steve Scott said...

"the one holiday that has not been hopelessly commercialized"

Our TV cable has "theme" music channels. With the family over for Thanksgiving, we turned to the "holiday" theme music channel. It was exclusively Christmas music.

Solameanie said...

I wish we could find some holiday of theirs that they consider sacrosanct, and then put a Christian twist on it. Then sit back and enjoy the caterwauling, and the opportunity to yet again point out their hypocrisy.

Solameanie said...

BTW, Dan and all...

You might want to think twice about heading to Phil's for pizza. Knowing his penchant for unusual fare, you're liable to find fuzzy caterpillars on it instead of pepperoni, LOL.

Andrew said...

While I agree that the media is a major pain these days... and I agree I really enjoy this holiday as well... I am not sure I agree with the Pizza! I am thankful for all that God has given me and the many blessings that He has blessed my family with, I am also thankful for a day when pizza doesn't even enter the thought process of my family!! :) It is enjoyable other days, but I much prefer a meal with the family to a box of pizza... Just my preference!

Jim Crigler said...

Andrew: I think Phil and Dan make their own.

Hmmm ... The "tooltip" that popped up over the picture of the pizza said "leftovers". If that's a picture of Phil's actual leftovers, I wonder whether he had that problem when Pecadillo was still living at home ...

Phil Johnson said...

Andrew: "I much prefer a meal with the family to a box of pizza."

Box?

BOX!!?

We don't need no steenkin' box!!

They haven't designed a box that could hold one of my pizzas.

Andrew said...

Phil - If you are making your own... that changes it slightly for the better!! Hope eveyone had a wonderful thanksgiving weekend.