Thanksgiving is a great holiday. The act of giving thanks is a great act. Turkeys are delicious. Oh, and it can be dangerous. Ever since Adam and Eve committed sin, we humans have also had trouble with sin. And not only blatant, public, open sin (like getting drunk and doing something really stupid) but sin that forces itself into the best and holiest places, like good holidays. In fact, sin hides the best behind “good” deeds or actions. It’s easy to see the selfishness of the serial rapist who publicly rages against God, but much harder to see the sin of the avid church-goer who secretly thinks she is better than everybody. So it is with Thanksgiving, it’s a great holiday, but like every other day human sinfulness has created some areas that are not that holy. There are some traditions, that some people partake of, that in some way are dangerous for your body or your soul.
1. Gluttony (Overindulging in food)
The number one cause of death in America is heart disease. The number one cause of heart disease is gluttony and obesity. Most Christians I know are severely against cigarette smoking because it is clearly unhealthy. They remind everyone that your body is a temple, and therefore you should take good care of your health, and not smoke. I don’t know of any statistics on this, but I’d wager more people die from eating too much than from smoking. Both are dangerous, and we need to be wary of both.
“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat” Proverbs 23:20
2. Consumerism (Obsessing over money and stuff)
If you have a choice to buy the same item for two different prices, then provided you are not buying stolen goods for less or charity for more, I think God would definitely have you pay less. Buying something “on sale” is good Biblical stewardship. if you buy stuff on sale, you have more money left to spent wisely, to donate, to help others with. I like sales. That said, Black Friday brings the worst out of people. People get trampled to death for 40% off a big screen TV.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25
3. Gossip (Obnoxiously discussing the faults of others)
All humans are cursed with sin. In every case where such cursed humans get together, including Thanksgiving, there is an opportunity for the worst of humanity to come out. Unfortunately, often it’s not the worst about us, but the worst about others. Few people come to a family meeting and discuss their own personal shortcomings, or their own sin. It’s much easier to discuss the sin of others. If you find yourself in a discussion that starts unraveling the worst about others, that is sin, rebuke and steer away from such ungrateful talk.
Some give the adversary an occasion for slander by “going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.” 1 Timothy 5:13
4. Selfishness (Only grateful for things YOU got )
Thanking God for the things He has given you is important and shows that you know it’s all a gift and not something you deserved. However, because we are selfish, we often give thanks… selfishly! We often assume the whole world centers around us, the things WE got, the gifts WE were given, the grace WE received, the love WE obtained. Again, its mandatory and good to recognize that. You surely must! But that’s not it. Often we stop here, and focus only on OURSELVES. Instead, the Scripture teaches us to stop being so selfish. Thank God for other people too. Break free from thinking only about yourself.
“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” Romans 1:8
5. Partiality (Only praise for the good things)
It’s natural to be thankful for something very good, especially if it’s not expected. Even the most pagan, sinful, wicked, selfish person will be “thankful” for receiving and amazing and undeserved gift. Even Hitler felt thankful at times. And we too often create a theology where we are picky in what we thank and praise God for. If its something in accordance to our desires, cravings, and our plan, then we are thankful. If it’s not, we become unhappy complainers. One who is truly satisfied in Jesus, and knows Christ is the greatest joy, can be thankful even when there is no amazing feast laid out before him.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18