What exactly is Thanksgiving? What I mean is this: aside from the obvious reference of giving thanks, what do people feel is the way to celebrate the national holiday known as Thanksgiving? Is it the way most folks do it? Because most people I know have a huge dinner, complete with traditional ‘fixins’, in a house...
Best answer: What exactly is Thanksgiving? What I mean is this: aside from the obvious reference of giving thanks, what do people feel is the way to celebrate the national holiday known as Thanksgiving? Is it the way most folks do it? Because most people I know have a huge dinner, complete with traditional ‘fixins’, in a house filled with relatives who are watching football all day. I cannot find any giving of thanks in that. Now separate the actual date (the fourth Thursday of November), set aside the publicity, cute commercials, and all the marketing and promoting everywhere and what do we have? A day where dozens of relatives eat, eat, and eat some more while the television is on. Sounds like a family reunion to me. Which can be done any time.
Look, Thanksgiving is a national holiday put into place by the leader of a well-known nation who, like other very patriotic folks back in the day, thought it was a good thing to do. The history of Thanksgiving celebration is full of myths, legends, rewrites, feel-good pablum, glossed over genocides and a few good harvests. So much so that one has to research the whole thing in order to glean actual facts. But what is the purpose of the holiday we now know as Thanksgiving? It is a national holiday, so what is its purpose?
Jehovah's Witnesses are Christians and, as such, we are no part of the world, just as Jesus was no part of the world, just as his disciples were no part of the world. John 17:14. Jesus and his followers lived in the Roman world. They respected and obeyed the law of the Romans and quietly remained true to the God of Abraham. Let me ask you, please, and you instruct me: if the Romans instituted a national holiday, one which seemed relatively harmless, do we suppose that Jesus and his followers would gleefully participate? Don’t you suppose Jesus would seriously consider it in the light of scripture rather than the shadow of emotion? Isn’t that what he did when tempted to turn a stone into a loaf of bread? Because making a loaf of bread seemed harmless enough, right? Do we think Jesus would have just done a knee-jerk response and celebrated? Do we think they would observe it?
As one other Witness said, Jehovah's Witnesses are allowed to do anything they want. If we want to, we can get drunk, we can be sexually immoral, we can worship modern day Baal, we can lie, cheat and steal. But Christians don’t act like that. Sheep don’t act like that, do they. So if others wish to celebrate, observe, participate in, and honor the national holiday called Thanksgiving – complete with all the fixins’, by all means, they should do so. They, like we, are free moral agents. Jehovah's Witnesses however try very hard to make sure that whatever they are doing does not displease Jehovah God and Christ Jesus in any way, shape, form, or fashion. As for the giving of thanks, God’s word the Bible admonishes us at Philippians 4:6 and Ephesians 5:20, to do so always.
Sorry for the long response, but seriously: this is not a basic yes or no question. More is involved than turkey and dressing. Or do you call it stuffing?
Hannah J Paul