Like many others around the globe, our plans for Thanksgiving have changed a little bit in light of Covid-19. This is, after all, a year fraught with foiled intent. This is not to say that the day itself will change all that much for us as opposed to any other year. However, it is to say that this year will nonetheless be different because our giving of thanks will be enshrined in an act of civil disobedience.
We will not form an acceptable, mass gathering for a mostly peaceful protest, nor will we band together under the auspices of election results or the celebratory victory of our favorite sports team’s victory. We will likewise not consider the “essential” nature of abortion procurements, strip clubs, casinos, and the like as we consecrate our gathering.
Instead, we will be all the riskier in our apparent coup as we sit around the table with friends and family numbering more than ten, and bow our heads in thanks. We will greet one another with handshakes and hugs without gloves or plastic sheets; there will be genuine human interaction that will be a time to relish in. We will enjoy pleasurable food and drink. We will laugh as the kids run free, sans masks and social distancing protocols, and dwindle down the remaining hours of the day with a good cup of coffee and a delightful piece of pie.
At the end of it all, we will have eaten all too much and regret none of it. We will not find ourselves feeling guilty for eating and drinking and merry-making to our heart’s content—and this will be our gloriously insignificant act of defiance and rebellion in an age where giving thanks is considered such a thing. Our food will be rebellious food, our drink rebellious drink. Our songs will be songs of insurgence; our prayers will be prayers of insurrection.
Then, in another few weeks we will do it again as more family comes to town to join in our revolt as we give praise to the King of kings. We will lavish free gifts to those we love and invite our neighbors to join in our raucous cause. Our hearts, minds, and souls will unite as one in reverential worship of the One of whom Scripture says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this” (Is. 9:6-7).
Thusly, we will sing merry songs with warmed bellies, remembering not only the first advent of our Lord and Savior, but of His second advent yet to come. Our hope will once again be pointed heavenward, enjoying the kind and tender mercies of a God who has given us much to be thankful and merry for. We will do it without apology, caveat, embarrassment, nor even a thought to how those paralyzed in fear shall think of us. We will do it without a second thought to our safety—yet we will likewise not act presumptuously, as if future prospects await for us to give thanks then.
We will do it all with a smile on our faces and much delight in our hearts, all as a protestation to the powers that be who seek to forbid such things and the people who gladly submit to their illegitimate authority. We will dissent against the greatest of enemies in the midst of it all, knowing that it is not against flesh and blood which we wrestle, but the powers and principalities seeking to undermine the simplest expressions of adulation and praise to the One who has so richly blessed us.
To be sure, this act of mutiny will carry with it the grand significance of every other waking moment of our existence, where we are committed to much the same agenda. For you see, as we assemble each Sunday and commit ourselves to praise, prayer, participation in the ordinances, and the presiding of the Word, we partake in a glorious rebellion. We raise as one body and in one Spirit in defiance to the things this world holds dear, the subversive ideologies and worldviews they embrace, and their dangerous sequestering between the sacred and the secular.
Consider joining us in an act of thankful civil disobedience. The Lord has given us much to be thankful for this year and undoubtedly, much to be merry over as we look toward His great and tender mercies, past, present, and those yet to come.