Thanksgiving Thoughts

I always hear about how we gloss over Thanksgiving, but I think it’s getting worse. Thanksgiving is no longer thanks-giving day, it’s a day of rest before the big shopping race. I heard a commercial on the radio today announcing a certain store will be open ON Thanksgiving day to accommodate shoppers a little earlier. Now, the actual day is no longer sacred.

I honestly don’t remember in years past Halloween AND Christmas decorations being out at the same time, but this year I saw it in several places. Commercialization at it’s finest.

I think the reason we are diluting Thanksgiving as a legitimate holiday is because we aren’t GETTING something. For Halloween (which, according to some, is now the second most celebrated holiday of the year) we get candy. For Christmas, of course, it’s all about the gifts. Even Easter has become a time of “getting” (new clothes, presents in your baskets, etc.). But Thanksgiving has always been about taking time to pause and consider. Well, we can’t have that, now can we? So what do we do? Center the day around sales, and shopping, and GETTING.

Here’s a suggestion – instead of being just “thankful” tomorrow, try being grateful. What do I mean by that? Being thankful, to me, is synonymous to manners. “Thank you for holding the door open for me”. Gratitude implies indebtedness – “There is NO way I could have done this without you”.

So, using my definitions, how would that change how you look at tomorrow, and the rest of this weekend? Does it change your perceptions of the people you are thankful for? Does it change your attitude towards God? What have these people done for you that you couldn’t do for yourself?

You see, if you want to make Thanksgiving about getting, make it about what you have already been given. Show gratitude towards your wife who, for most households, keeps it together like you never could alone. Be grateful for the friends that love you unconditionally all year long. And, of course, be grateful for what God has done for you. And, by the way, He would have done it just for you. He did it for everyone, but He would have done it JUST for you. Ponder that…

Tomorrow, and this weekend, I choose gratitude. I have been given much already. Much of what I have been given, I could never have done for myself. I will choose to stop, rest, and ponder all of it.

What about you?

  • wmarkwhitlock

    We try diligently to hold onto a day of thanks in our family. A few years ago, we used ThanksLiving Treasures from FamilyLife as a way of remembering the history and the holy-day. Last year, my wife started a new tradition called a “tree of thanks”. She used butcher paper to create a tree on the back of our front door. Then she had the kids cut out a bunch of colorful leaves from construction paper. She left the leaves in a basket along with a couple Sharpies. When any of us thought of something for which we were thankful, we wrote it on a leaf and taped it to the tree. Our tree overflowed with thankfulness. By stretching out our thoughts about being thankful (over 3 weeks), it helped us remember more. Remember more deeply. And express thanks (or gratefulness) in deeper ways.

    You can see a picture of last year’s “tree of thanks” here.

    We love music in our house and I’ve found the project for Spring Hill Records, “Grateful Hearts” to be very helpful to keep the focus where it should be. You can download it from iTunes at .