I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Politics: All about gratitude and the aftermath of Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving feast was about gratitude to God for His protection and provision, as well as gratitude to the Indians for helping them survive. Thanksgiving has always been about gratitude along with family and food. Thanksgiving Day is not, has never been and will never be “Turkey Day.” This expression does away with the very foundations of the celebration.

In fact, the whole move to sever God from public life and institutions is a slap in the face to those who came to America looking for a place to practice their faith not only in the privacy of their homes, but also in every day life, including public service and in education.

Somehow, we’ve gotten the idea we can separate faith from the rest of our lives as though body and soul can be surgically cut asunder. Maybe it is this dichotomy which has caused so many to say one thing, but behave in a completely different manner.

Public educators often advance this concept, partly due to fear of reprisal from such as the ACLU. Unfortunately, this policy creates an environment of fear instead of the confidence we wish to instill in our young people. Students may hesitate to express deeply held religious, especially Christian, beliefs out of fear that a teacher may publicly humiliate them, and adults fear facing a lawsuit if they express their faith in public.

But aside from tearing us in half as people and instilling fear, there is something only Thanksgiving brings out and that is an attitude of gratitude. Our forefathers fell on their knees when they landed on shore after weeks of being tossed about on the ocean and packed into stinking ship holds like sardines with little air, food or privacy. They held an attitude of gratitude in the midst of horrendous circumstances, because they looked forward to living and worshiping freely.

When we take God out of the equation, we trash the fundamental reason for the celebration. It becomes another attempt to separate body and soul, leaving the holiday but an empty ritual of self-indulgence. Thanksgiving Day isn’t about us. It isn’t about gorging our bodies. Thanksgiving Day was instituted to turn our attention away from ourselves as we consider the blessings we have in our country, our families, and in so many other ways.

Once more we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving Day, but how many really gave thanks? How many counted their blessings instead of their complaints? As we head into the Christmas season, let’s not make the same mistake. Let’s not strip away the very reason for the season. Let’s instead go into the holidays with grateful, giving hearts.

By Carolyn R Scheidies


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