I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. I might even say that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the simplicity of it. Spending all day lounging on the couch or cooking in the kitchen, all while the TV plays football in the background. The only things on your agenda are eating a big meal, playing games and never leaving the house. It’s the one day in which it’s socially acceptable—even encouraged—for adults to take a nap. How could you not love a day like that?
But I’ve noticed more and more over the years that Thanksgiving is getting squeezed out. As soon as the Halloween decorations come down, the Christmas ones go up. It seems that overnight the pumpkins and skeletons are replaced with trees and Santa Claus’. So what is happening to Thanksgiving? Where are the turkeys and pilgrims?
Maybe the lack of hoopla and advertising has left us feeling that Thanksgiving isn’t really a holiday at all, but instead just a day in which we are forced to cook a giant turkey and visit with distant relatives. Or maybe nowadays people aren’t interested in a holiday that focuses on giving instead of getting. Maybe we prefer to go from getting candy to getting presents and would rather skip that in-between holiday that asks us to spend a day thanking God for those Snickers and iPads.
It seems that everyone has overwhelming enthusiasm for finding just the right costume for Halloween, for carving pumpkins, for getting free candy. And it’s obvious that Christmas holds a huge place in American’s hearts—look at the commercials, decorations and parties. But it seems that when it comes to giving thanks for all of those things, we run out of energy. In fact, it seems that Thanksgiving is just a way to fuel up before the rush of Black Friday, or as some retailers are calling it, Thanksgetting.
If I’m being honest, I’m just as guilty as the rest. In fact, I think one of the reasons why Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday is because I was born the day before it. I can accept a day of being grateful because I get gifts and attention during Thanksgiving week, even if no one else does. Still, I’d like to think that that’s not the only reason why I love this holiday. I like to think that, like everyone else, I have some humility under my sometimes materialistic shell.
And so this Thanksgiving, I’d like to spend my day taking it easy and filling my unoccupied time with silent prayers of thanksgiving. When I eat dinner, I will thank God for the food provided, and when I play games, I will thank God for the family that surrounds me. Instead of worrying about what I have to do or what the next holiday season might demand of me, I will focus on what God has given me today. For my warm home, my friends, my jobs, my education, my health and the millions of other things that I don’t deserve and yet am blessed to have, I will give thanks. Because, hey, we could all stand to take a break from getting things and focus a little more on giving thanks.