Thanksgiving Day–What’s the Point Any More?

            Where I live one of the radio stations began playing nonstop Christmas music November first.  Another started this past weekend.  This follows a trend in recent years.  Last year an FM station in St. Louis played Christmas music from October first through the end of December before becoming a sports station on January first.

            I noticed that Christmas TV specials aimed at kids started last week.  Several stores have been running pre-Christmas discount sales for weeks now.  What happened to Thanksgiving Day?

            It has been taken over by the excessive commercialism of Christmas.  Not that it hasn’t been commercialized, too, but by its nature, Thanksgiving Day isn’t like other holidays.

            It doesn’t commemorate somebody’s birthday.  You don’t see people shooting off fireworks or putting up Thanksgiving lights.  Candy sales don’t skyrocket as for Halloween Easter or Valentine’s Day.  There’s no spike in flower sales.

            Oh, yes, there are still some traditions, like parades, football, and overeating at family gatherings.  Supermarkets may run specials on turkey and the trimmings, but the airlines don’t have to go out of their way to advertise pre-Black Friday sales.

            If all you ever saw of Thanksgiving was what’s on TV, you’d get the notion that it wasn’t any more significant than April Fool’s Day.

            In our country’s history, a day of giving thanks has been set aside during times of crisis.  Pilgrims at Plymouth were thankful to make it through their first difficult year in a new land.  President Lincoln thought it important to give thanks during war between the states.  Many days of prayer, fasting and giving thanks took place in the Confederate States.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served during depression and world war, marked the fourth Thursday in November for giving thanks.

            Now that we’re in a deep economic crisis and are stretched thin militarily overseas, what’s our emphasis?  Christmas shopping.  What’s wrong with this picture?

            While you can give thanks on any day, take time on this Thanksgiving Day to simply give thanks.  But how do you give thanks if you’ve lost your job?  What if you’ve lost a huge chunk of your retirement fund?  What if you or those close to you have been sick?

            Consider I Thessalonians 5:18 from the King James Version of the Bible: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Notice the first word “in.”  The exhortation is to give thanks in everything, not necessarily for everything.

            Later you may be able to look back on today’s troubles and be thankful for them.  But for the moment, find some little thing to be thankful for in the midst of all you don’t yet know how to be thankful for.

            While you’re thinking of unlikely things for which to give thanks, here’s something else to consider.  In the early 1990’s Paul Brand wrote a book called Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants.  It’s about the importance of pain.  For example, if you stick your hand in a pot of boiling water and don’t feel anything, you’ve got problems.  You could subject yourself to injuries and diseases because you don’t feel the pain you should feel.  Therefore, pain is something for which to give thanks.

            What are you thankful for today?

Explore posts in the same categories: Thoughts from John

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