The Thanksgiving holiday is coming in the United States next week. All across the country people will gather to gorge themselves with turkey, stuffing, pie, and who knows what else.
A day set apart to be thankful has been celebrated off and on in the U.S. since 1789, and in 1863 we began celebrating a specific day of the year for this purpose.
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said in part:
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
While the actual date was eventually changed, one thing has remained the same; as long as families gather in large groups, there will be some jackass who will find a way to ruin the occasion. If you’re that jerk who would like nothing more than to alienate your family and friends, here are a few quick ways.
1. Talk Politics
“That Donald, he’s_____________”
Fill in the blank. I don’t care how, just fill it in. You could say intelligent, mean, awesome, or orange – it doesn’t really matter what you put in that blank, at this point you’ve already sabotaged your Thanksgiving.
Shying away from raw politics? Maybe you’re concerned about global warming.
“Hey, did you cook that turkey in a gas oven?” You say with great concern. “You know a lot of cities are outlawing gas ovens. They contribute to global warming.”
Bingo, argument ensues.
For all too many people, Thanksgiving has one theme: Indulgence. Satiate every sense to it’s maximum capacity. Stuff the gut. Absorb the Football game. Swill the spirits.
Hours later one is collapsing into bed with a stomach-ache, the beginnings of what will be a killer hangover, and a slight depression from a poor outing by one’s chosen NFL team. There’s been no enduring contentment, no fulfillment of anything more than the gut, no satisfaction of the soul. A couple days later the meal has passed through the body and one is as empty (mentally and physically) as they were before.
Thanksgiving may not have been ruined in the midst of the event, however, postmortem, it has been robbed of it’s beauty and true meaning.
3. Forget the Reason for the Day
Acknowledging the hand of providence, in 1789 George Washington issued a proclamation that began with the following paragraph:
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. “
The one simple reason for a Thanksgiving holiday is to be thankful – for giving thanks to whence all blessings flow.
The first and foremost way to ruin Thanksgiving day – to ensure it has no lasting fulfillment beyond the taste of food – is to awaken on Thursday morning with so narrow a definition of the day as to only see turkey, trimmings, pie, and football.
If this is your definition of Thanksgiving, I truly hope you discover the true purpose of the holiday. The real fulfillment which comes with the proper definition. The fulfillment of the soul which only comes when one is truly thankful for the blessings which have been bestowed upon them.