Some people — including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — have encouraged would-be parents to give up having kids (or even abort their unborn children) to curb climate change, and now, to a much less tragic degree, a writer for HuffPost is asking Americans to skip traveling to see family for Thanksgiving this year.
“The biggest carbon impact is caused by people, not food, traveling extensive distances,” wrote Alexandra Emanuelli. “[D]riving is less detrimental [than flying], but American cars emit close to a pound of CO2 per mile driven.”
In her piece, “The Environmental Impact Of Your Thanksgiving Dinner,” Emanuelli went on to quote Orchi Banerjee, a recent graduate of the department of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, who said, “It may help the environment if [your guests] stayed home and cooked their own meal.”
Much like those who have pledged not to have children until sufficient action is taken on climate change, this latest encouragement from Emanuelli is calling people to miss out on what God has deemed worthwhile, righteous, and holy in order to launch some politicized mission.
No, the turkey and the other kinds of food you eat on Thanksgiving isn’t holy (as good as it might be). It’s the time we spend together, reflecting on the year, looking with gratitude at what has been and what’s to come, prioritizing those who matter most in your life that’s blessed by the Lord. Those are the things that are worthwhile, righteous, and holy.
Thanksgiving, it is believed, is modeled after a harvest in 1621 shared by the Pilgrims in Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. Over the years, Thanksgiving was largely a locally recognized day of prayer, until then-President Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War, issued a proclamation for a national day of thanksgiving to be recognized on the last Thursday of November every year.
“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies,” Lincoln said in 1863. “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
Lincoln’s words were certainly inspired by the Bible, in which there is no shortage of passages calling us toward gratefulness.
In Psalm 100:4, it’s written, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” In Psalm 107:8-9, believers are told to “give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds.” In the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
But in our religious adherence to politics, we are in danger of missing what matters, the gratitude and thanksgiving toward which God calls us. And for some of us, that means driving (or flying) to be with the people God has placed in our lives, fellowshipping with each other, extending hospitality toward those we care about.
Don’t allow politics blind you. Celebrate, as Lincoln said, “the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies” this year.