For years I have grumbled about the perpetual expansion of the Christmas holiday. It’s not that I dislike Christmas—it is an invaluable time of family, friends & remembrance of Christ’s birth. But it has continually become more commercialized & drawn out celebration. This year I have been worried that the culture of Christmas has begun to overshadow another important national holiday.
Last year, I noticed Christmas decorations starting to go up right around Thanksgiving week. This year, around October 1st, the local dollar shop released their first round of decorations. This is the earliest beginning of the Christmas season that I can recall. I am starting to wonder if Christmas will eventually consume the second half of the year & Thanksgiving is to become a thing of the past.
On October 3, 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Note that he did not issue this proclamation as a thank you to the many Native Americans who helped the pilgrims survive the trials of Plymouth; he did not issue it as a national day of rest or day of football games. Rather he issued it as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Thanksgiving was established as a day of thanks to God for our system of governance & “for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed.”
Further, Washington said:
It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection & favor.
It is easy to get caught up in the spirit of Christmas—and there is nothing wrong with that—but first, let’s remember the spirit of Thanksgiving.
I do not worry that Thanksgiving will be eliminated from the calendar or that we will ever stop consuming massive amounts of turkey on the last Thursday of November. I do worry that the spirit & heart of Thanksgiving has been lost. It is up to us to restore it.
This Thanksgiving, leave the Christmas lights off for just one more day. Take time to thank God for our freedoms, our liberties & our system of government.
Nicholas Horton is the Editor of The Arkansas Patriot & former Searcy City Council candidate. In his spare time, he volunteers with various political campaigns & writes for The Liberty Bell. Contact Nicholas at firstname.lastname@example.org & follow him on Twitter.