I don’t want Thanksgiving Day to get too small in the rear view mirror before pointing out a terrific post by my friend and colleague Rusty Pritchard, on the Flourish Blog. He draws a parallel, or really establishes a clear distinction, between Earth Day and Thanksgiving Day–the first of which is mostly God-less, the second of which is often misused or incomplete.
For Christians, in America at least, Thanksgiving Day is the real Earth Day. We thank God regularly for his many spiritual blessings, but we have set aside one day a year for a redemptive materialism. We thank the Creator for his creation, and we feast on its fruits.
As Christians who have committed time and treasure to the challenge of advancing “creation care” in the churches and applying Christian ethics to the thorny environmental issues of the day, we do shy away from largely secular Earth Day and look to Thanksgiving as a good time to add our gratitude for all of creation to the usual foci of thanks. Rusty says it well:
Gratitude is an elusive virtue. We’re making a fundamental mistake if we are only thankful for the products of nature or the products of our labors. We ought rather to be thankful for the very ability to work, for our inherited knowledge of farming (and cooking), the sociality that enables trade, the generations-long efforts at breeding that give us corn and beans and turkeys. Nature and our ability to transform it–our culture–are divine gifts worthy of our thanksgiving on this, the real Earth Day