Shopping yesterday I found myself already overwhelmed by the noise and clutter of Christmas. November 1 y’all. November 1. I did my best to shut it out because I just don’t want to go down that path! The leaves are still gorgeous and I drove around town with my sunroof open enjoying the sun, fragrance, and breeze of November. I don’t want to see November as a dash between Halloween and Christmas. I want to stop, pay attention, and think about Thanksgiving.
Because Thanksgiving has little to offer retailers, it is barely a blip on the radar. The only hint that Thanksgiving is on its way in Target yesterday was a small shelf of clearance merchandise tucked between the creepy clown masks and marked down Milk Duds. I couldn’t even find cards! The shelves were empty and being restocked with Christmas cards. In terms of profit, Thanksgiving is a bust unless you are a grocery store. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. It is the holiday equivalent of an underdog. More than that, though, it is a day set aside to be thankful.
Being thankful is a gift in and of itself. In gratitude, we are made aware of all the world around us and the daily gifts God leaves strewn across our path. I have learned that even in the midst of the worst circumstances, in the middle of deep pain, disappointment, anxiety or fear, when I force myself to refocus and look outside of my distracted moment, really look for something to be thankful for, remarkably I am always able to find a place for gratitude to rest. From the smallest, seemingly insignificant, brush of sun on a fallen leaf to the grander gift of a grandchild’s smile, when I allow an external awareness to replace my internal turmoil I can find gratitude and-an added bonus- clarity of peace.
I believe-deeply and soulfully-that we should live in a state of gratitude and thankfulness; not just one day a year but every day of the year. But, isn’t it great to think that in some areas of the world people stop the hustle of life for an entire day to pay homage to Thanks? The roots of the holiday are tied to gratitude for survival, but how and what we celebrate today is vastly different than the origins of Thanksgiving. Today food is the centerpiece as opposed to gratitude and football runs a close second-and, thanks to the infinite wisdom of commercialism, we can now shop ON Thanksgiving day-totally think this stinks in case you didn’t pick up on that little pinch of sarcasm. Someone, somewhere probably did a study discovering that tryptophan is the gateway drug to uninhibited shopping which could be the only thing saving Thanksgiving altogether (more sarcasm. Sorry, can’t resist) It may be safe to say that some form of thanks usually ekes its way into most celebrations but we have come so far from the initial inchoate celebration of gratitude.
The social media Christmas postings have begun, Starbucks is serving up its holiday lattes-in green cups (nobody cares about tradition any more do they?), Amazon is blasting us with Black Friday promises and Hobby Lobby…what can I say-they’ve had Christmas stuff up since July. I love Christmas, I really and truly do, but, I love pausing for that extra little inhale that Thanksgiving provides. I will break out all my festive deco just as soon as I can but, BUT, I am going to stop, gather with my family, give thanks for the legacy we have together, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His steadfast love endures forever (compilation of several scripture references) and take the time to look in each person’s eyes and remind them why I am so grateful that Lord has placed them around my table.
And I give thanks for each of you.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And, whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:16-17