Summary: It is just me or is the focus on Christmas happening earlier and earlier as the years go by? Years ago you didn't see anything Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Now the attention on Christmas starts before Halloween. What we can do to give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves?
THANKSGIVING-THE FORGOTTEN HOLIDAY
It is just me or is the focus on Christmas happening earlier and earlier as the years go by? Years ago you didn't see anything Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Now the attention on Christmas starts before Halloween. And let's not forget Christmas in July; as if Christmas doesn't get enough commercial attention as it is.
And in years past, Black Friday didn't start until Friday. Now, you can get your crazy shopper groove on before Friday. Commercially we move from Halloween to Christmas with a not-so-discreet passing over of Thanksgiving. It's sad that the holiday with the least amount of commercialism has lost its overall appeal. And because of that trap we lose sight of the ever important focus that should be there-the focus on giving thanks.
What we can do to give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves?
1) Be aware of what can get in the way.
There are some things about Thanksgiving that, although not bad things, they can still get in the way of the focus on giving thanks.
There is a lot of cooking going on for Thanksgiving. It's a lot of work and slaving in the kitchen to get everything ready for the meal. Hours of preparation and everyone tears in and gobbles [pun intended] it up in about a half hour.
But think about a little subtlety that has happened. The holiday is called Thanksgiving but there's another term that people often use instead-Turkey-day. Not that anyone means anything bad by it but within that term you can see the focus being shifted from giving thanks to being about the bird.
Obviously there are many things being served at the traditional Thanksgiving dinner but the centerpiece is the turkey. But what if something went wrong with the turkey? What if you sat down to eat and when father made the first plunge with the carving knife you had a Christmas Vacation type moment when Clark tried to carve the turkey? Steam poured out and the turkey was as dry as a bone. They tried to make the best of it but it was obvious the ruined turkey made it difficult to endure.
Not that a ruined Thanksgiving meal is no small matter, but if that happened to us would we let it affect our thankfulness? Prov. 17:1, "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife."
Maybe you've experienced a Thanksgiving meal where there was all this chaos and drama surrounding getting the meal ready and making sure everything was just so. It can cause anxiety and stress and that can turn into strife; especially if when you're eating the meal you start hearing complaints. "The potatoes are cold." "These aren't the rolls we usually have?" "Tofu turkey? Are you serious?!" Just then you see mom grab the carving knife and waits to see if anyone else has a complaint.
Where's the thankfulness? Is the focus here on enjoying each other's company? I don't think so. Can the kitchen be a place where people are working hard but laughing and enjoying themselves? And no, you don't need a bottle of wine to make that happen. Can we enjoy the food without making it all about the food? Can we be thankful for the food even if everything isn't perfect?
Prov. 15:17, "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred." I'm not saying our Thanksgiving is full of hatred but the focus of this verse is to put things in perspective. It's better to have just vegetables if love comes with it than to have a ton of great food but the people eating it are unloving. The food shouldn't be the priority-love and thankfulness should be the priority. We need to be aware of what can get in the way of being thankful.
The commercialism of Christmas is being pushed sooner and sooner as the years go by. If I'm not mistaken I think there were Santa sightings before Halloween this year. I've already seen commercials with Christmas themes advertising Black Friday sales events.
This time of year is referred to as the holidays, which is supposed to include Thanksgiving, Christmas and possibly New Year's thrown in there too. But let's face it-with Christmas getting all the attention we might as well drop the 's' from holidays.
Is our Thanksgiving Day filled with talk about Christmas lists and Black Friday deals? Do we thank the Lord for what we have and then switch gears to talking about what we want to go out and buy?
What happened to the days when stores were closed for Thanksgiving? What if that were still the case today? What if all on-line shopping was suspended on Thanksgiving? How thankful would we be about that? What if Black Friday didn't even exist?