Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving in a mixed Secular/Christian family

This is a particular exciting Thanksgiving for me, as it will be my first "two family" holiday season. First my boyfriend, his kids and I will be going to my parents house to eat (along with my sister who is here all the way from Oregon!) and then we will be going to the kids grandparents.

One of the things I absolutely love about my new family is that we are all atheists who share the same values of humanism and reason. Yep, having a significant other with the same sorts of beliefs and values is most definitely something to be thankful for. So even though there is likely to be a Christian prayer before eating at least at my parent's house, we know who truely deserves the thanks. I give thanks to the earth, the founders of the USA who helped guarantee our rights directly at the founding, the farmers who grow our food, the scientists that help us understand the world, the inventors that have thought up the things we use every day, and the everyday people out there who in the process of earning their daily bread support our economic system and our way of life. And those in each family who have worked so hard to earn and prepare the food on the table. And many more people who are way too numerous to mention here.

It would be so much easier just to thank God, but I think that would really miss the point...

Here is the bit from The Meming of Life that I thought was particularly appropriate for Thanksgiving:

We have no difficulty reminding the four-year-old to “say thank you” when Grandma hands her an ice cream cone, but in other situations – especially when a religious turn-of-phrase is generally used – we often pass up the chance to teach our kids to express gratitude in naturalistic terms. Instead of thanking God for the food on your table, thank those who really put it there – the farmers, the truckers, the produce workers, and Mom or Dad or Aunt Millicent. They deserve it. Maybe you’d like to lean toward the Native American and honor the animals for the sacrifice of their lives – a nice way to underline our connection to them. You can give thanks to those around the table for being present, and for their health, and for family and friendship itself. There is no limit. Even when abstract, like gratitude for health, the simple expression of gratitude is all that is needed. No divine ear is necessary – we are surrounded by real ears and by real hearers.
source: The Meming of Life >> Where Thanks are Due

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