How We Celebrate Says a Lot About How We Live
Posted November 9, 2013on:
If celebrations give voice to the ideals by which we are trying to live, how should we observe Thanksgiving? It may be easier to think first of how we ought not observe it.
Thanksgiving is not be a day for thanking God for affluence while others go hungry. The notion that it is God who gives affluence to some and poverty to many not only ignores the role humans have played in arranging patterns of affluence and poverty but flies in the face of the God of love and justice. Nor should it be a time to claim God’s special blessing on any nation. As a minority religious group, the Pilgrims knew only too well the problems that occur when the interests of God and nation are identified by a dominant religious group.
Thanksgiving is also not be an occasion to romanticize the cooperation between “the Indians” and the settlers, unless to recall in sorrow the subsequent centuries’ genocide of native Americans. Finally, Thanksgiving should not be a day of rest before the two largest shopping days of the year, when giving thanks is swept out the back door so Christmas commercialism can come in the front.
As a day that gives voice to our highest ideals, Thanksgiving can be a time to remember with gratitude and humility that we alone are not responsible for whatever bounty is in our lives. It can be a time to confess that part of our bounty has come at the expense of others, including native Americans, slaves, farm workers, and hosts of others we do not even know. It can also be a time to share what we have with others, and include in our celebrations those who would otherwise be alone.
Finally, Thanksgiving can be a time to commit ourselves to creating a world where hungry children are fed, the homeless are provided with shelter, and those who suffer discrimination because of race, sex, religion, or age are respected.
Episode 8 of SLW! podcast – Whose Birthday Is it, Anyway? – a radio adaptation of Alternatives’ best-known resource for Advent and Christmas. This episode features: What Does JESUS Want for Christmas? + 10 Free, Fun Things to Do with Your Family at Christmas
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Most of Alternatives’ AV resources are part of this “Whose Birthday?” radio series. See episode 6 for a list of SEASONAL HELPS, including links to AV and Text resources. NEW – Advent/Christmas music from Sing Justice! Do Justice!
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Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist
GRAPHIC: “We Thank You, God, for Who We Are” from Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art for Simpler Living & Global Justice: 3. Celebrating Other Seasons #3-A545
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