This week, our nation will again heed President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 call: “It has seemed to me fit and proper that we should solemnly, reverently, and gratefully stuff ourselves to the gills with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, pecan pie – and more turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin and pecan pie – and thence park ourselves before a television like dead cement trucks and look upon the forever hopeful Detroit Lions through closed eyelids, which will open only if someone turns it off, whereupon we shall scream: ‘I was watching that! What’s the score ..?’”
Lincoln’s title for this great celebration was, of course, “Turkey Day,” in honor of the Pilgrim’s original meal of cod, eel, clams, oysters, lobster, goose, duck, venison, varieties of fowl, leaks and parsnips – among other things. We’re not so gauche, so we’ve defied him and call it a “great day of Thanksgiving” – a label prompting questions between our denied catnaps: Why not make thanksgiving and gratefulness a lifestyle (minus the calories)? Why not free ourselves from postmodernity’s bitter grip and stand in awe once more?
A New Testament passage suggests it can happen – as long as we agree to unlearn much of what we’ve learned. We would become forgetful. We would catch a lovely disease: “Holy Amnesia.” The Apostle Paul said as much in Philippians 3. He described his life as a legalistic Pharisee and Christianity’s nemesis, then dictated verses 13-14: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it (perfection in the Christian walk). But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (emphasis added).
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