This is not a short post, but if you want to know why we’re not celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, you’ll want to read on.
Tomorrow is the last Sunday before Thanksgiving Day. In recent years, we’ve found it natural to hold the day we consecrate our commitments to the church on this Sunday. (Remembering the origin of Thanksgiving Day in the thankfulness the Pilgrims felt toward God for the blessings God had given them and wanting to tie that into our own thankfulness for what God has given us.) However, there was a problem with that. The Thanksgiving theme would end up overpowering our attempts to celebrate Christ the King Sunday (which, according to the Church’s liturgical calendar, often falls on the Sunday immediately preceding Thanksgiving Day) One solution would be to simply move Christ the King Sunday back a week. But if we do that then we’re into what should be the First Sunday of Advent and almost everyone, regardless of how little they know about the liturgical year, can tell you that there are four Sundays in Advent that need to be observed before Christmas and I would not dream or even dare to dream of moving Christmas back a week. So what to do? We’ve not yet found a really good answer, so this year we bumped Consecration/Thanksgiving Sunday forward a week to make room for Christ the King.*
We did this because Christ the King Sunday (sometimes known as Reign of Christ Sunday), celebrates a central tenant of Christianity. Namely, that God Almighty is the creator and true ruler of the universe and that eventually the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Looking around the world today, it’s often hard to remember that. It’s important that we take a Sunday to celebrate and remind ourselves of that bedrock reality.
That’s probably a lot more than you wanted to know, but nonetheless, I feel much better having told you.
*I don’t feel too bad about this because the Pilgrims were Puritans and Puritans did not observe religious holy days. I’m pretty sure they would be appalled to know that they had inadvertently started one that is still being observed nearly 400 years later.