In the midst of the rampant running commercialism of Christmas, it appears many Americans are now willing to skip Thanksgiving altogether in favor of sales where they will still overspend and pay the interest on said purchases for years to come (hence, they will really only have the immediate illusion that they have saved money). Last year Robert and I bought running shoes the day before Thanksgiving and saw people already camping out in front of the neighboring Best Buy for the sales the next evening (no, we weren’t trying to find a sale on the shoes either- we just needed new ones and were in the area). They were completely willing to skip a lovely holiday meal with their families in order to be the first to get whatever piece of electronic equipment they had lived without all the time before that. And don’t get me started on how unfair it is that the people who work in retail are expected to happily forgo their family time in order to please the greedy masses. Some blame Target, but Target was simply the host to the parasites.
This year, and for the last few years, Christmas began the day after Halloween (the greedier corporations began even before that), and Thanksgiving seems to have suffocated somewhere between tacky witches that appear to be flying into trees or houses and even tackier gigantic blow up yard snow globes with dancing penguins or hippy Santa Clauses.
I love Christmas. It’s always been my favorite holiday, but in its rightful time and place, because Thanksgiving is an important American holiday. The more commercial Christmas becomes, the more the true reason for the holiday is forgotten (many read “Jesus is the reason for the season” on Christmas cards but give it no thought or ignore it in lieu of getting presents), and the same and worse seems to be happening to Thanksgiving. Christmas has merely been distorted; Thanksgiving is being forgotten.
In school, we learned that Thanksgiving was about pilgrims and Native Americans (but they were still referred to as Indians when I was in school) getting together and having a celebration of crops. Ok, kinda true, but that explanation skips the whole idea of whom they were actually giving thanks to. Yes, God again. He pops up in all kinds of holidays, and is systematically removed from most of them. Even Easter is questionable these days, and seriously, how can the purpose of that holiday be ignored or covered over? A fluffy white rabbit delivers candy? God gets covered over because so many people want an excuse to have a celebration, but they don’t want the pesky reminders of the truth. I’m not going to write a diatribe here; just pointing it out and moving on.
Thanksgiving was permanently established as a national holiday in 1941 to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November, but it has been celebrated in various ways for the last four centuries. Should we throw that all away now? I like Lincoln’s words:
We often forget the Source from which the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies come… No human wisdom hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God… I therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States… to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
We have so much to be thankful for. Let us not forget where it comes from and cherish the time we have to gather with our families and friends. Savor this time and think on your blessings before you move on to Christmas.