What are often called ‘religious holidays’ present a cultural challenge to secularists. The revolt against Christmas has been ongoing for some time. In fact, both sides seem to be a bit tired of that one, now that something of a cease-fire has been achieved with the anti-Christmas forces holding a significant majority of the cultural territory.
Easter is another stickler. If a secularist is not careful, an image of the risen Christ is liable to pop out from behind an Easter bunny somewhere. That would be a shocking retreat to barbarism to a convinced secularist.
Thanksgiving, however, might be the worst obstacle of all to cultural secularists. Christmas is very complex, with Santas and stockings available - when misused - to obscure the view of the Christ. Easter can be thought of as a mere celebration of spring or some such inane thing.
But what to do with something simple and straightforward like Thanksgiving?
There have been valiant attempts. The secularist can pretend to go along with the idea until just short of its logical conclusion. We could just be ‘thankful’ while trying hard not to specify to whom we are thankful. I heard somewhere of some school children who were instructed to be ‘thankful to Thanksgiving.’ Ah, the wisdom of education majors!
But thankfulness is a condition that demands an object. An that object has to make sense for the level of thankfulness we maintain. It’s fine to be thankful to your neighbor for being a good neighbor. But where can we locate the object of our thanksgiving when we are thankful for things like the very fact of humanity, the good of goodness, and the beauty of the world in which we exist?
That kind of thankfulness, should any secularist dare to indulge in it, points to none other than God Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
It is a rather uncomfortable situation - unless, that is, you are simply willing to give Him thanks. And I say this with very sincere apologies to secularists everywhere.