Thanksgiving Day, a once special day has been swallowed up in generations of change. Heck, how about showing gratitude or being thankful that our country, despite her changes, is still much better to live in than many undeveloped nations of the world?
Of all the holidays in the year, Thanksgiving is perhaps most incompatible with the moral dispositions of Generation Y.
It is not that we refuse to partake of the turkey and mashed potatoes, nor that we refrain from watching the football games on television. Rather, we are ungrateful for most everything we have.
We are a thankless generation.
I may sound like a pessimist, but my premise is basically positive.
My generation is materially blessed beyond what any other generation before us has ever been.
A typical, middle-class 18-year-old is endowed with a fairly new car with a fancy stereo system, a cell phone, his own television, a college education paid for by his parents and the government, access to fast food 24 hours a day, a laptop computer with Internet access, a ticket to the R-rated movie on Friday night, cultural license to engage in gratuitous sex, political license to attain an abortion, and social independence whereby he or she can easily avoid the constraints of organized religion.
Run-on sentences are discouraged, but run-on blessings are taken for granted by Gen Y.
We have the right to entertainment, the right to the pill, the right to feel good about ourselves, the right to employment, the right to education, the right to file lawsuits, the right to health care, the right to forsake intellectual matters, and the right to hate spiritual matters.
Obviously, it is not because we are deprived of anything to be grateful for that an entire generation lacks the distinguishing features of heartfelt thanksgiving.
Instead, it is just the opposite.
The vast abundance of material wealth, opportunity, fun and enjoyment at our disposal is seen as nothing more than the product of our own mighty existence.
As a result, we are a selfish generation that presumes it is enough to thank ourselves for being alive by seeking the various instant gratifications available to be consumed.
The problem is not that we have nothing to be thankful for. The problem is that we have forgotten Whom to thank. In short, we have forgotten God.
Only 30 percent of American high school seniors consider religion very important, according to the 2002 National Study of Youth and Religion conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina. That leaves 70 percent not caring about the source of blessings.
In a proclamation of thanksgiving to Congress, Abraham Lincoln wrote:
"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthen us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
“Time” magazine ran an article in the May 20, 2013 edition entitled, “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” This article spurred a veritable firestorm, and the debate rages on. Several television news programs have also taken up the debate, and the Internet came alive with both pro and con opinions as well.
So-called “millennials” are in the 18 to 30 age group. By many, they are considered to be one of the most narcissistic, self-centered, self-absorbed, “it’s all about me” generations in American history. Described as generally spoiled rotten and lacking the basic virtue of gratefulness, they are looked upon as a generation thinking of themselves as entitled to be entitled.
I have heard many from the “baby-boomer” generation speak of the millennials in this vein. But if what they think of the millennials is so, “baby-boomers” need to realize and remember that it is their generation that produced and raised the last couple of generations, with the millennials being a part of their heritage.
Thanksgiving is a religious holiday, but as with most religious things, our culture has demeaned it into a celebration of secularism.
Of the 4.5 million occurrences of the word "thanksgiving" on a Google search, fewer than 1 million have "God" in the context. The words "food" and "turkey" appear with far more regularity than the Name of God in shared hits with "thanksgiving."
The only alternative to thanking God is selfishness. Today, it is rare that we even take time to consider that America's blessings of prosperity, freedom, justice, peace and opportunity are gifts from a mighty and gracious God.
As with the Thanksgiving meal, plenty of food for thought for this Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.