Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Not just a holiday, but a command

A guest post from Steven Broiles, former high school teacher, now a voice-over artist and cab-driver in New York City.

Steven Broiles

THANKSGIVING: A Holiday and a Command

By Steven Broiles

I returned home from my freshman year at Boys Town in 1971. That Thanksgiving, CBS had a news report about a high school girl who won a prize for her Thanksgiving essay. (She read it on air). The question she asked was, “What do we have to be thankful for?” She went on to list the reasons against gratitude—a never-ending war in Viet Nam, political corruption, a high crime rate, inflation and all the rest.

Well, here we are, 44 years later, and we have TWO never-ending wars and more turmoil than it seems we can handle. And from the looks of it, we’re about to be drawn into a conflagration with Russia. Suffice it to say, things do not look good.

So what do we have to be grateful for? Most of us will stuff our faces, get drunk, go to bed and join the hordes of shoppers on Black Friday. Thanksgiving has devolved into a feast of gluttony and consumerism gone mad!

But I have stopped to think about my own situation and how thoughtless I have been. Every day is like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”: Wake up, go to work, come home and eat, drink a six-pack, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We have an obligation to be grateful. Gratitude is not merely a virtue; It is a command. As I have said before, I believe I have a spiritual condition known as acedia. I have been told I am intelligent and articulate. But I cannot seem to break out of my rut. Every day is the same. There is a certain sadness at the work required to improve my situation. Then there is the sadness at the opportunity to do that work! It’s “damned if I do and damned if I don’t!”

And from the news I’ve been watching, the talk shows I’ve been listening to and the customers I have in my Uber car, it seems to me that most people are suffering from the same condition of acedia, to a greater or lesser degree. People can tell what is wrong with the country, or the City of New York, or their own situations. They say great things or have good ideas, but they can’t seem to do anything about it. People, myself included, seem to be crippled by indecision.

It seems to me as if almost everyone, at least as a corporate whole, has been beaten down to a state of demoralization, not quite on the state of despair, but seemingly hopeless, nonetheless. Not to be grotesque, but it is like nausea! For all of my Catholic education and all the sermons I have heard for over 50 years, I’ve heard a lot of things. But I have never heard the word “acedia.” If I had, I would have remembered it. The closest thing I have ever heard similar to it is “sloth.”

But then I thought about it. WHO is the author of confusion? WHO is the author of indecision? WHO is the author of despair? Of the resulting spiritual dry rot and cynicism? Certainly it is NOT God who wills these things. It is NOT God who creates and nurtures this spiritual torpor, this feeling of being stuck in a straightjacket! Is it no wonder I have been stuck in this attitude, and go about it, day after day? Is it no wonder I cannot seem to get out of this rut and transcend my problems?

I thought of the Serenity Prayer, and how it is a call to ACTION. “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” My past unwillingness to do what this prayer says is the cause of the prolonging of my problems! It is an accountant’s prayer: I have to stop the chatter inside of my head. And I have to identify those things I cannot do anything about. (Fortunately, that list is rather short.) Then I have to identify those things I CAN do something about, or at least what I can do about my own situation. And I have to make my plan and stick to it, not being discouraged by the length of time it will take to achieve those things I have to achieve. Long story short: I make a T-account—a sheet of paper with a vertical line down the middle. The left column is the negative column, and the right column is the positive one.
And I have to bear in mind that my imagination can be my own worst enemy—of how easy it is for me to dwell on the negative and get carried away with it.

This is what I look for when I am listening to other people, whether they’re in my car or on the internet. Going negative is really easy. I think we’re all prone to it. God knows there is plenty going on right now to be negative about. And then I think about the logical conclusion to negativity gone mad: It ends in the insane asylum or in suicide!

I think that the daily exercise of the Serenity Prayer leads me to gratitude. We are COMMANDED by God to pray for our own affairs. So we stop everything and identify what we have to endure. Then we identify what we can do about it. We stop our wild imagination and its catastrophizing and get ahold of ourselves. And then we have gratitude for being able to do this much. We feel gratitude for the ability to endure another day, another problem, for the ability to think clearly. And that gratitude propels us into the next day.

My friend Eric was very kind in allowing me to keep my boxes of books in his house when I moved out of my apartment shortly after 9/11. I got those boxes out of his garage this past summer. I kept a few of those books—a very few. One of the philosophers I used to read was Gabriel Marcel, who wrote “Creative Fidelity.” (I gave the book away: I placed the boxes of books—one or two boxes a day—on the stoop to the house. People would come by and take what they wanted.) Marcel has said that there are problems and then there are mysteries, and that one of the problems he noticed in life is how we treat everything as if it is a problem. Then we treat each other as if the other person is a problem. Then we wind up treating ourselves as if we are a problem! The answer, he opined, is to look at life and our participation of it as a mystery, and to participate in that mystery.

This is what I think is our primary spiritual problem—a lack of gratitude. We have been and are very fortunate, despite what we must endure. And things do not look good. Let us practice gratitude and count on it to get us through things. Let us not wind up like a certain Presidential candidate (cough! cough!) who insists upon “being treated fairly”! Let us continue to be grateful for what we have—and what we have been spared—and participate in the Mysteries of our Catholic Faith.

Let me always remember that Our Lord told His Apostles, before He Ascended into Heaven, “Behold! I have overcome the World.” Let us always employ the Serenity Prayer as the Road to Sanity and Gratitude!

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday and in the days ahead.

Thanks for our troops!


This Thanksgiving, I’m fortunate to have my soldier home with me after his year-long deployment in Afghanistan. There are many troops who won’t be home this year to celebrate with their families and loved ones.

Please remember them in your daily prayers!




Obama pardons turkey with left-handed mock cross

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush revived the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation Ceremony at the White House, wherein the president would “pardon” a turkey from being “executed”.

The Christian Sign of the Cross is made with two gestures:

  • A top-to-down vertical stroke: “In the name of the Father”
  • Then a left-to-right horizontal stroke: “And of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”

Out of respect for the centuries-long Christian practice, no one makes the sign with the left hand. But yesterday, accompanied by his two daughters, Obama “pardoned” the turkey by using his left hand to make a mockery of the Sign of the Cross over the bird.

Not only did Obama use his left hand, his hand gestures also were not the true Sign of the Cross. I replayed this video several times to make sure I accurately saw what he did with his left hand:

Using his left hand, Obama first made an up-down vertical stroke, then a right-to-left horizontal stroke, then another up-down vertical stroke.

In other words, instead of the Sign of the Cross

Obama made a sign of the doublecross:

It’s his “F-You” to Christians.

H/t FOTM’s Maziel and Canada Free Press.

Update (Nov. 23, 2012):

This is also the 4th straight year that Obama’s Thanksgiving message makes no mention of God. [Source: Breitbart]


PETA can get stuffed!

PETA Thanksgiving billboard asks kids: Would you eat your dog?

Fox News: A billboard that will be placed outside Nevada public schools is sure to make  for interesting Thanksgiving dinner conversation, that is, if kids let the  turkey make it to the table.

PETA plans to place a billboard that reads, “KIDS: If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go vegan,” with a picture of a dog head on a turkey body, near Reno public schools.

Similar ads will be run outside public schools in California, and were placed  in Canada in September.

“Kids love animals, and if they thought about how turkeys feel pain and fear  just as dogs and cats do, they want to switch out those drumsticks for Tofurky,”  Marta Homlberg, associate director of Youth Outreach Campaigns for peta2 said in  a press release.

“This Thanksgiving, families can give turkeys something to be thankful for by  choosing delicious vegan meals.”

But not everyone is as excited about this billboard as PETA. The billboard  ran in Canada during the country’s Thanksgiving season and was met with  resistance from turkey producers. “It’s not classy, and not tasteful,” Bill Uruski, chairman of the Turkey  Producers in Canada told The Winnipeg Sun.

PETA is also offering free tombstones for kids to stick into the Thanksgiving  turkey. The tombstone reads, “Here Lies the Corpse of a Tortured Bird.” Children can visit the website and request a tombstone in the mail for free  as long as they tell PETA why they don’t eat turkey. There is also the option to  download the tombstone and tape to a toothpick.

“Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and kindness, and we should not  celebrate this by eating the decomposing corpse of a tortured bird,” Lauren  Stroyeck, a PETA spokeswoman told The Winnipeg Sun.

Have you ever tried Tofurky? I have (one of my nieces is vegan) and it’s the most disgusting, vile, and ugly piece of garbage I’ve ever eaten. This is what I’ll be having for dinner on Thanksgiving, the real deal!

Maybe if they really want to convince the kids, they can show them a picture of a person who actually ate dog meat.


Emergency 911 Call – Woman too Drunk to Get out of Car

Everett Woman Calls 9-1-1 After Trapping Herself Inside Own Car, Can’t Find Way Out




What Was Obama Doing With His Hand?

On Thanksgiving Day, continuing a White House tradition, the luckiest turkey in America was “pardoned” by Obama, to spend the rest of its natural life on some farm instead of roasted on a platter.

In “pardoning” the turkey, beginning at around the 4:25 mark in the video below, Obama did this weird thing with his hand over the bird. What the heck was that?

His gestures are vaguely reminiscent of a desultory blessing with a very desultory sign of the cross — but then it’s not. It’s like he couldn’t quite bring himself to actually make the sign of the Cross — which precisely is what one would expect from someone who’s not a Christian but of a “faith” hostile to Christianity.

Last year, after a ridiculously long, almost 6-minutes speech, Obama did a much abbreviated version of his hand thing, by simply thrusting his hand out toward the turkey (beginning at around the 5:53 mark):

Both years, his two daughters looked totally bored as Obama was orating. No wonder Moochelle was MIA from the turkey ceremony. LOL


A Day late and a Turkey short.


A game warden was driving down the road when he came upon an old man carrying a wild turkey under his arm.

He stopped and asked the man, ‘Where did you get that turkey?’

The man replied, ‘What turkey?’

The game warden said, ‘That turkey you’re carrying under your arm.’

The man looks down and said, ‘Well, lookee here, a turkey done roosted under my arm!’

The game warden said, ‘Now look, you know turkey season is closed, so whatever you do to that turkey, I’m going to do to you.

If you break his leg, I’m gonna break your leg. If you break his wing, I’ll break your arm. Whatever you do to him, I’ll do to you. So, what are you gonna do with him?’

The old man said, ‘I guess I’ll just kiss his butt and let him go!’

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy never have a lump,
May your yams be delicious,
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!..and don’t mess with old people.
~Steve~       H/T  Tina