Christianity, Family, Holidays, Sports

Sure, Parades & Football — but hopefully Thanks most of all

Well, I don’t plan to write much, but at the moment seeing my wife work wonders in the kitchen while I sit here essentially useless has me inspired to say a few brief words. :)

The kids are recognizing one of the unintended consequences of our cutting ties to regular television fare to save a few bucks: No access to the broadcast networks’ Thanksgiving Day parades. (We’re purely a Roku/Netflix family now.)

Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900 showing a tur...

Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900 showing a turkey and football player. But where’s Tom Landry? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I might hook up the computer to see if there is any simulcasting going on and, if so, connect the TV so they can watch them on the big screen. I’m sympathetic to the sentiment… In my house growing up, it was Thanksgiving Parades in the morning, then a walk down the alley to my grandmother’s house where the rest of my father’s side of the family would gather for food and football. Tom Landry was practically part of the family. The Smiths would watch the games on TV with the sound all the way down so that they could listen to the play-by-play on the radio, which they preferred to the TV announcers. (Does that count as a “multi-media experience”?)

For the Smiths, today–or at least this colony here in Ohio–football no longer plays a big part (though the Super Bowl seems to be discussed much on this blog: here, here. and here). Not that it is inherently evil (which I have covered before, more than once). I’ve just never been much of a sports guy–dodge ball, soccer, a little fencing, and competitive pencil sharpening excluded.

[Free admission: I may not be a sports guy, but I am a Texas Aggie, and it still seems very, very strange not to have Texas A&M playing t.u. on Thanksgiving, even if I usually didn't watch. All the more bittersweet since sports pundits seem to think that the Aggies would win such a match up this year--something the Longhorns have to be thankful for, I suppose. Psalm 75:10a!]

Regardless, I hope to help all of us here in the Smith Kingdom and our guests today to remember the day for its true purpose: Giving thanks to our Creator.

In an old Plain Truth magazine back in 1969, the Church once wrote:

“There is nothing necessarily wrong with good food, family reunions and football games on Thanksgiving Day. But all too many use these activities wrongly and forget the purpose for the holiday. Many glut themselves with far more food than they ought to eat; few, however, stop to give God thanks for this food — even on Thanksgiving Day.”

True then, true today.

There are those few–in a celebration of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy as well as, in some cases, other, less innocent motivations–who confuse the American Thanksgiving with pagan harvest festivals, falling for the same faulty arguments that some use to claim that the Feast of Tabernacles is pagan in origin. But the day’s clear path to its place on our calendar is easy to trace, and Thanksgiving is, truly, a national holiday that a Bible-believing Christian can celebrate. (Ditto for arguments that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are pagan, which they most certainly are not.) What a shame, then, if those who are Bible-believing Christians fail to observe in the good and godly spirit it was originally intended, even if no one else is doing so.

So, however you choose to enjoy your time with family and friends today–whether it involves parades on TV or football in the backyard or whatever your own family traditions might be–I hope it includes some sincere thanks for God’s promises to Abraham and for the blessings this undeserving country continues to enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

About Wallace G. Smith

Pastor for the Living Church of God (www.lcg.org) and a presenter on the Tomorrow's World television program (www.tomorrowsworld.org).

Discussion

9 thoughts on “Sure, Parades & Football — but hopefully Thanks most of all

  1. Hi Mr. Smith! I am SO glad that you made the point about the origins of American Thanksgiving – sadly, I do know of at least one person in God’s Church (interestingly, not an American but a Brit) who does make the faulty connection between our Thanksgiving and paganism. I simply advised said person to look at President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamations of a fast, and then of a day of thanksgiving for deliverance (which I’d recommend to everyone – Mr. Ames refers to the call for a fast in his Commentary today). Again sadly, the point seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

    But one reason it can do so is that so many “harvest festivals” and versions of Mother’s Day in Europe do indeed come from paganism or else from syncretism (e.g., originally from the honoring of “Mary the mother of God”). And so there is that guilt by association that you have to reckon with. You may know that all too well, but I think it’s worth stating the point. Interestingly, I have never heard that the modern Church of God has recommended such festivals for its members in Europe, although my ignorance is not proof of reality.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving, you, Beautiful Wife, and Boys Whose Numbers I Have Long Since Forgotten. :D And if one of the Boy Numbers plays “Power Pope” in chess today, don’t get too sore at him. ;)

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | November 22, 2012, 11:16 am
  2. On my drive to work, I was just wondering is today a day of thanksgiving or indulgence.

    Posted by Lyndell | November 22, 2012, 8:17 pm
  3. We don’t watch much football anymore, either; but… as long as you brought the subject up… hook ‘em horns! Water balloons at ten paces.

    Posted by steve | November 22, 2012, 10:41 pm
  4. Oh, you did not say that on my blog… :)

    Posted by Wallace G. Smith | November 22, 2012, 11:22 pm
  5. Now if only we can watch the parades on Roku/AppleTV/etc.

    Posted by Lyndell | November 23, 2012, 12:13 am
  6. It looked like the longhorns and the aggies were going to face each other in the Cotton Bowl this year. A much younger cousin, A&M graduate and major football nut, just informed me that it’s not going to happen. Texas lost to TCU. He took a great deal of pleasure in announcing that to me, too. I’m going to hide in the bushes and mumble to myself. .

    Posted by steve | November 23, 2012, 2:00 pm
  7. Oooo… Sorry about that! At A&M we used to humorously say that our two favorite teams were the Aggies and whoever was playing Texas, but I always differed from that. After reading an article in the Battalion that the Thanksgiving Game and/or the Cotton Bowl would always be a more thrilling experience if TAMU and UT where the two best teams in the conference, if not in the country, I agreed that made a lot of sense. So it was always my hope that Texas would win all of its games–before, of course, it lost to the Aggies.

    So, I sympathize. If I walk past a bush and hear some sad mumbling quietly emanating from it, I will simply pass on by and not interrupt. :)

    Posted by Wallace G. Smith | November 23, 2012, 3:41 pm
  8. Thanks. Actually, my dream is for the Texas teams to stop battling each other, and only play those foreigners out there. Show them how it’s done in Texas! (I really don’t watch much football anymore, but the slap and tickle is still fun)..

    Posted by steve | November 23, 2012, 4:18 pm
  9. Ha! Nice idea, there. In a store near the A&M campus on the way to the Feast in 2011 we saw a baby outfit for little ones whose parents were divided, one Aggie and one UT-grad. It had a little “picture equation” showing the TAMU’s Gig’Em hand sign plus the Texas Hook’Em Horns sign equaling the sign language hand for “I Love You.” Very cute! Still, I would like some A&M/UT games to still happen. It’s hard when the life-long nemesis you name in your school fight song is one you no longer get to play. When the Aggies are facing Missouri next, they’ll still be signing “Saw Varsity’s Horns Off!” up in the stands.

    Posted by Wallace G. Smith | November 23, 2012, 5:31 pm

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