What it's really about

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By Tom Wilmoth

As spam-mail goes, I've heard from more than my share of bankers and royalty in Africa waiting to send me money, if only I'll give them my bank account number or some other such nonsense. Spam has taught me about blue pills and others of varying colors. I've learned about all of these bank accounts that I started unknowingly that now need my personal information for "verification" purposes and I've learned how to purchase medicines from Canada.

With the holiday approaching, I'm appropriately thankful that our new email service does a better job screening out spam ? now, instead of getting some 250 spam emails it's down to about 75 a day. With those unwanted emails that do make it through, it's usually an email click goodbye into cyberspace oblivion.

But one that came across the screen last week, caught my eye enough to stop and read.

The email from the Ayn Rand Institute had the headline "Thanksgiving: A Most Selfish Holiday." I had to read on. I'm sorry I did.

The opening paragraph alluded to the Thanksgiving dinner as being about turkey dinners, pumpkin pies and watching football, with some vague mumblings of thanks for food, a home and loved ones. "Surely there is something more to celebrate, something more sacred about this holiday," it stated.

At that point, I had to agree.

Beyond there, however, the article, written by Debi Ghate, proved as disgusting as finding a cat hair in your turkey gravy.

The essay stated that Thanksgiving is, in essence, "a celebration of successful production," a producer's holiday. Let me quote the essay:

"What is today's version of the 'bountiful harvest?' It's the affluence and success we've gained. It's the cars, houses and vacations we enjoy. It's the life-saving medicines we rely on, the stock portfolios we build, the beautiful clothes we buy and the safe, clean streets we live on. It's the good life."

OK. But no.

Everything slid down fast with the essay's next comment on how that bountiful harvest came to be. "Ask any hard-working American," the essay states. "It sure wasn't by the grace of God. ...We alone are responsible for our wealth. We are the producers and Thanksgiving is our holiday."

And so, I surmise, we must all bow to the mighty human. As the essay states: "So, on Thanksgiving, why don't we thank ourselves and those producers who make the good life possible."

Try that as your Thanksgiving prayer. And then duck.

How sad.

The essay digresses into a putrid rant against humility and giving to others and being unselfish. "One should take pride in being rationally selfish ? one's life and happiness depend on it," it states.

What a pathetic commentary on life, on those who choose to celebrate themselves rather than the very One who gave them the breath of life and the opportunity and abilities to accomplish anything they might do.

If you can read these words, give thanks. Yes, thank a teacher or parent for their part in helping you learn the phonics, but more importantly thank God who is the author of that language and even more the language of life. The very DNA that serves as the building blocks of our lives is made up of a unique language. By definition, that language must have an author, a creator. Our very existence is held in that author's hand.

If you can lay a brick, swing a mop, type, run a store, create a painting, drive a truck, design a building, perform surgery, give a shot, pick an apple, plow a field, teach a child, answer a phone and any of the thousands of other tasks workers perform daily, you should give thanks. Thanks, that is, to God, the very one who has gifted you with such abilities and skills.

Thanksgiving isn't, Ayn Rand Institute, about celebrating one's own accomplishments. It's about celebrating the One who made such accomplishments possible.

Thanksgiving is not, as the essay stated, about thanking "yourself for everything you have done to make this moment possible."

It's not about "selfishly and proudly" saying "I earned this."

It's about acknowledging God for His goodness in your life. It's about giving credit where credit is due.

Thanksgiving isn't about you. It's about Him.

It's not about what we've earned, it's about what we've been given.

It's not about how great we are, it's about how gracious He is.

It's not about what we might think we deserve, it's about the mercy we've been shown in spite of ourselves.

It's not about us. It's all about the Heavenly Father.

Pity the soul who believes otherwise.