Our Thanksgiving Day traditions are pretty conventional: Macy’s Parade, turkey and stuffing, football, and afternoon naps. Oh, and giving thanks. That’s a pretty big part of the day too. Well, it’s what it’s all about actually.
But what is the worldview of gratitude.
As I’ve thought about this it seems that there are a few basic ingredients to thanks giving. First, personhood is paramount . If ultimate reality is at bottom impersonal then to whom might we, in an ultimate sense, give thanks. Second, it seems to me that providence is essential as well. Blind chance, properly understood, deserves no expression of appreciation. Third, goodness is necessary in order to have something for which to give thanks. If we live in a world, as Richard Dawkins believes, where there are no true moral distinctions, then there is no contrast between thankfulness and any other human value. Finally, choice seems inescapable. Gratitude might be an attitude, but if it is not something we can choose then it is meaningless. If our decisions are mere products of the biochemistry of our brain then being thankful is an illusion.
It seem the Christian worldview makes good sense of giving thanks. Providence, personhood, goodness, and choice all fit within the Christian framework. And for those who face rough times this Thanksgiving, Christianity offers even more. There is redemption, grace, forgiveness, and hope in Jesus. That’s indeed something to be thankful about.
My new book The Owlings: Book Two released Thanksgiving week. You can get it here.