Christian Living

Thanksgiving in a Secular Society

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 11/26/2015

Stephen Nichols explains how our worldview affects our gratefulness and expression of thanks, and what this means for an increasingly-secular society:

In his scientific study of gratitude, Emmons came to the realization that gratitude raises a singular and significant question: When we say thank you, to whom are we grateful?

The interesting thing here is that if we trace this “to whom” line of questioning back, like pulling on the threads of some tapestry, we find a singular answer at the end of each and every thread. The answer is God.

To whom are we grateful? We are grateful in an ultimate sense to God....

When we consider God as the “to whom” we are thankful, we may well be seeing both the necessity of thanksgiving and the eclipse of thanksgiving. As culture veers more and more towards a secular state it shrinks back from gratitude. So vainly we think we did this all ourselves. So wrongly we think we deserve, or even have a fundamental right to, all of this. We also know what is at the end of the string if we pull on it long enough. We know that we will be confronted with a Creator. We know we will be accountable to a Creator. Saying thank you means we are dependent, not independent. We would rather be ungrateful. Paul says we know God from all the evidence He has left of Himself, but we don’t want to “honor him or give thanks to him” (Rom 1:21). Then the downward spiral begins. A culture of ingratitude careens ever downward into decline....

Today is your opportunity to do something radical and beautiful—give thanks to God openly and publicly, amidst your family and friends, in front of Christians and atheists alike. May your public glorifying of God today bring some light to our nation.

(HT: Tim Challies)