This Thursday, US citizens will celebrate Thanksgiving, a national day of thanks, as we should, for all the blessings we have to be thankful for. However, as so often happens, the true meaning and feeling of this holiday seems to have been forgotten and become commercialized, just as the one that soon follows it, or rather has been nearly skipped over, seen as merely a pit-stop on the journey to the next. President Lincoln was the first to actually declare Thanksgiving as a holiday, though something similar had already been tradition in New England before that (the Pilgrim and Indian story we all grew up on), so we’ve been doing it for a while now. The idea then was to give thanks for the Union during a war-weary time, to give hope. Now the Union has been preserved for some time (though I guess not all states are cool with that anymore), and we’ve adapted the holiday as a day to be thankful for all we have.
Families come together and gorge themselves on turkey that makes us sleepy, children and adults alike watch a parade with giant balloons and Santa Clause, and fans cheer on favorite football teams until we all fall asleep from the turkey. Then many prepare themselves for the craziness of “Black Friday” (which actually has a positive meaning though the name sounds so…dark), since it starts so early the next day. And now some stores actually have taken to opening their doors on Thanksgiving to get a head start on making that crazy Black Friday money. Greed.
And so, with food hangovers, people wake up long before the daylight even thinks of shining, so they can spend money they don’t even have, because there are deals to be had on merchandise they don’t even need! The sick irony of this is that by the time many people have maxed out their credit cards on these “awesome deals” on material objects (many of which will be re-gifted anyway), they will pay multiple times the amount they “saved” just trying to pay off the interest on the cards. The term “Black Friday” comes from the idea that retailers are put back “in the black,” meaning their profits put them in the black rather than the losses of being “in the red.” So the only ones really winning are the retailers, which is of course good for the economy, just not the individual’s bank account.
All of this greed has commercialized our holidays from the end of October through the end of December to the point that people working for such places are forced to work on the holidays (in this economy one does what the boss says without arguing), missing that quality time with family, so other people can go out and get more in debt. As I mentioned earlier, some retailers care so little for their employees that they begin their big sales on Thanksgiving, and shoppers feed into it, deciding to ignore the obvious idea that the people they are yelling at about “the sign said half off…” are missing their holiday. Our perspectives are all wrong!
This important video may help open your eyes. Please click and watch.
I encourage my readers to truly think about all you have. Here in the US even the poorest are generally more blessed than the majority of this world’s population. But in many of those countries where people are “less blessed,” they are more thankful for what little they have, like their families, and shelters over their heads, if they have them.
I’ve been seeing on Facebook that people are posting something new they are thankful for each day. I like that idea, even though I didn’t participate, but I’m going to list as many of them as I can think about now. I am thankful for…
God, my creator, who loves and provides for me,
my husband who loves me unconditionally,
parents who raised me in love,
my family (even the ones who sometimes drive me nuts),
friends who are like family,
my church, epic,
two cars that are paid for,
employment for my husband and for me,
a talent in writing,
always having food when I’m hungry,
all my needs always being met,
having enough that I can give to others.
I don’t have all the luxuries I once thought were important, but I’ve also reached a point in my life where I’ve realized I’d rather have what I need and help others to have the same. If we are blessed, we should bless others. Dwell on what you do have instead of what you don’t. Chances are that if you have the capability to be online reading this blog post right now, you are fairly well blessed. Be thankful.