I don’t know when or where the corruption of “Happy Thanksgiving” into “Happy Turkey Day” started. Perhaps it began harmlessly, innocently, with no ulterior motive—just a playful “clever” alternative to the traditional greeting for the holiday we celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November.
However, in view of the current, widespread subtle and not-so-subtle attacks against exterior worship of our God and Savior, I personally do not wish to hear that expression this year—especially not coming from the mouths of individuals who profess belief in the one true God “from Whom all blessings flow,” as the well-known hymn reminds us. Let us be true to ourselves, our faith, and our God. Let us be cognizant of the words we use; let us not fall into the trap of corrupting the intent of the holiday by calling it something trivial like “Turkey Day” as if that were an equal alternative to “Thanksgiving Day.”
“Happy Turkey Day”—no big deal? A totally innocuous expression? Words affect beliefs. Enough devotion has become watered down, diluted, polluted by political correctness, secularism, and relativism. Let us stand for our God. Thanksgiving was proclaimed an annual national day of thanks that all Americans would celebrate on the same day; that day was proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
"Happy Turkey Day"? ...Is it really the turkey we wish to acknowledge? To celebrate? To honor? On a day set aside for thanks, tell me. Are we really, seriously thanking the turkey for all the blessings we have received?
“When the Son of Man returns, will He find any faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8) Read the headlines, if you dare. There are those intent on martyring every infidel—in their views, that would be us—you and me. Selfishly speaking, if ever there were a time to worship God, to beg for His protection, that time is now.
And if we pray as hard as we can, does it mean that there will be no blood shed in this “land of the free and the home of the brave”? Not necessarily. God respects the free will of each of His creatures—even those who act in satan’s name to do his evil. Interesting, isn’t it, that those who seek to martyr us view us as the great satan. They, too, pray to God for protection. How does God sort all this out? God is true to His Word. He will not help those who do evil in His name. (Jeremiah 11:11; Micah 3:4; Isaiah 54:17) They think that description fits us; we think that description fits them.
God knows whose cause is right in His sight. He will inspire those who seek to disrupt or block the “real evil.” He will provide knowledge concerning how best to do that. But to hear God’s inspirations, one must be listening to Him. If we can’t even acknowledge God’s Goodness on the day set aside to thank Him, what are the chances that we are thinking about Him or listening to Him on the other 364 days of the year? And if we are thinking that all the military power in the world will save us, I fear we are greatly mistaken. (Psalm 20:8, Deut. 20:1- 4) We need an All-Knowing, Loving Hand to guide our responsible, charitable use of that power. And I do believe it is necessarily charitable to use that power to stop evil.
What is happening in this world is no joke. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies; to do good to those who seek to harm us. (Matt. 5:44) The best good we can do is to pray for them. Only God Himself could change their hearts, open their eyes to the Truth. What if each one of us took one terrorist hostage to our fervent prayers for his or her conversion? In the short term, praying for their conversion is not good enough. Without hatred in our hearts for the terrorists, but with love for those human beings who are being brutalized by them, we need to stand for the innocently victimized; we need, prayerfully, to do whatever we need to do to stop adults, and especially children, from being butchered and crucified.
Here in America, our children are being taught to stand up to bullies. To intervene in matters of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Terrorists are the ultimate bullies, don’t you think? We need to stand up for others, and we need to stand up for ourselves. And we need God’s help to show us how to do that without becoming bullies ourselves. With God, it’s all about motivation, intent of the heart. We need not to chase God from our hearts with hatred that matches the bullies’.
This fight is not easy; we need God’s leadership. We need to be filled with God’s Goodness. Rejoicing in the Lord must be our strength.(Nehemiah 8-10; Ps. 16:9) Being thankful, recalling our blessings, leads to rejoicing. Let us not miss the opportunity to strengthen ourselves this Thanksgiving Day. Let us call the day what it is. Let us say, unashamedly, “Happy Thanksgiving!” Let us say, “God bless America”—and mean it! Let us pray for God’s guidance to fight the terrorists. When it comes to fighting evil, God reminds us that the battle against evil is His. (2 Chronicles 20:15) He uses human instruments to bring good into the society. But alone, apart from God, we will never win. Let us pray for our enemies (Matt. 5:44); let us overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21); let us humbly obey God's Holy Word. Let us fight the way He tauight.
Turkeys are good; God created them. We can thank God for the turkey we eat that day, but let us not be ashamed to thank God for and in Himself. And since the very word “Eucharist” means Thanksgiving, let us program into our day’s events going to Mass as a family to give God thanks; He will give us Himself in return. As we journey through this life, He is our sustenance and our strength. He will lead us in safe paths if we follow Him. And if we are called to make the ultimate sacrifice, He will give us the Grace to face our deaths peacefully.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Let us all say it together, and let us all really mean it!.. And in the words that Jesus taught us, let us say the Our Father prayer that day (and every day!) and really mean those words, too! Let us trust that God will deliver us from evil, knowing that, for our part, we must thank and praise Him, living lives committed to serving and obeying His Holy Will.