As a child, I belonged to the Worldwide Church of God (which I just learned has changed its name to Grace Communion International…weird). We were Christian, but we observed a lot of the Old Testament holidays, like Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. We also shunned a lot of mainstream holidays. For doctrinal reasons, I was not permitted to celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Easter, or Valentine’s Day.
So, unlike most people, I don’t have many special childhood memories of Christmas or Halloween, which seem to be most Americans’ favorite holidays. But we did celebrate Thanksgiving.
I love Thanksgiving for a lot of reasons. Of course, I love seeing my family, and I love all the food. I also love that it’s a distinctly North American holiday, and that it’s the perfect capstone for fall.
I also love the sheer simplicity of it. No decorations, no costumes, no goofy mascots, no parties, no songs, no presents, no cards. Thanksgiving is like, “Man, just get your family together and make a bunch of food. It’ll be a good time.” And you know what? It is.
And finally, I love what Thanksgiving represents. I think the spirit of gratitude is one of the most important and underrated values of modern society. I’m agnostic now, so the idea of giving thanks to God is less meaningful for me. But the act of appreciating what you have is as important as ever. If you don’t value your blessings, you lose them.
Also, we don’t really care about football. So, there’s that.
What does Thanksgiving mean to you?