Originally published November 26, 2008
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
I Chronicles 16:34
Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s my favorite holiday. I get “time off” from my job (although as a stay at home mom, my “time off” looks a lot like my “time on”!); I get to go visit family; there’s no mad rush of gift shopping; and, the whole holiday is centered around eating. What could be better?
There’s only one thing I don’t look forward to about the holiday I love best. I’m not happy with the way Christmas has begun to overshadow Thanksgiving. The radio stations started playing Christmas carols before Halloween. The stores put out Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year. The commercials for Christmas gifts and sales have been prolific since October. You almost get a sense that, aside from the good people at Butterball, retailers consider Thanksgiving to be in the way. They know that Thanksgiving is the “Gentlemen, start your engines!” rallying point for most shoppers, and without it, they could probably push Black Friday back to September and combine it with their Labor Day sales.
But more than my own personal annoyance and my desire to gather up all the retail CEOs and the media in one place and shout at them, “Nobody puts Thanksgiving in a corner!” I’m concerned for all of us as a national community. With everything that’s going on in our country and the world right now, do we really need to skip over being thankful?
We Americans are so blessed we’ve become numb and ungrateful. What a slap in the face to people all over the world for whom simply surviving another day is an almost insurmountable task. How often do we have to worry about having water to drink that’s clean enough not to make us sick? How many of us are starving to death because we have no access to food? How often do we have warring factions marching through our front yards? When was the last time we secretly huddled together to worship, afraid that at any moment we could be arrested, tortured, killed?
In the mad rush of all that is going on in our day to day lives, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to slow down and give Thanksgiving its due.