I am so glad I am no longer an atheist.
If I were still an atheist, I couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with any integrity. After all, how do you give thanks to someone who doesn’t exist? If you don’t acknowledge the Giver of all good gifts, how can you thank Him for His blessings?
If I were still an atheist, I would have to resolutely close my eyes to the overwhelming evidence of beauty, design and order in the earth, the sea, the skies and the millions of life forms that inhabit them. Against all reason, I would have to continue to insist that all the wonders of an admittedly damaged but still stunningly complex and awesome creation are purely accidental and totally devoid of meaning. More than that, I would have to be content to view my own life, and the life of those I love, as empty, random and purposeless.
If I were still an atheist, I would have to live life without moral absolutes, with no remedy for guilt, no explanation for either beauty or pain, no answers to any of the big questions. If I were still an atheist, I would have no-one to forgive my sins and restore my soul, no-one to anchor my life, and no-one to answer my spirit’s cry for transcendence. If I were still an atheist, I would have no-one beyond myself to look up to; no-one to encourage me or hold me accountable; no-one to correct, protect, guide and direct my life; no-one to save me from myself and call me forward into my destiny.
If I were still an atheist, I would have no Messiah, and would have to live in the barrenness of despair, with the world’s wisdom my only explanation for life, man’s abilities my ultimate horizon, and the hope of a restored heaven and earth no more than wishful thinking.
If I were still an atheist, I’d be headed for an awful surprise on the Day of the Lord.
Although once I did indeed live without hope and without God in the universe, my life changed forever more than twenty-three years ago when I finally surrendered my pride and admitted that God was God. I am profoundly grateful that the Maker of the universe opened my eyes and delivered me from despair, guilt, emptiness, misery, and eternal death.
So I will celebrate Thanksgiving because I know there is hope. And yes, I will enjoy the turkey, and all the other seasonal foods. It is a good and godly thing to enjoy the Father’s blessings, and to do so without apology. This is a harvest festival, and it is right and good to celebrate the goodness of the Creator. Especially in a climate of increasing hostility to all theistic belief, it is important to declare that it is God who is the Author of life and the Giver of every blessing. But I will also be mindful that Thanksgiving Day is about so much more than the turkey and the vegetables. It’s even about more than family, important as that is. Thanksgiving is a declaration that God is good; that He made us for a purpose; that He has a redemptive plan which is still unfolding; that a harvest of souls is coming; that the earth will be full of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea; that Yeshua will appear once more when the time has come for Him to restore all things.
It’s good to give thanks. This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks with understanding, in the freedom of forgiven sons and daughters, with our hearts full of gratitude, and with our eyes on the Coming One, at whose name every knee shall bow in heaven and earth.