Thursday, November 24, 2011
Thanksgiving, Pirates, and Black Friday
Every year, around Thanksgiving, I start to salivate in eager anticipation. Although I do love the turkey, stuffing, pie, and even the cranberry sauce (not that jellied stuff shaped like a can, but the real live cranberry sauce that no one else seems to go for but everyone makes), it's not the food, or even the Holiday itself that gets my heart beating faster.
What makes a little smile break out on my face, even when I'm all alone, is the knowledge that the day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of Christmastime-- trees, lights, carols, ornaments, cookie baking & decorating & eating... glory.
The day after Thanksgiving (and sometimes even before) also marks the infamous Black Friday. It even sounds sinister, doesn't it? If the Dread Pirate Roberts hadn't already been sailing a ship called Revenge, I'm pretty sure it would have been named Black Friday. There's a certain ring to it.
Now, I have nothing against sales. I'm a big believer. And I'm not here to lecture anyone on that little old man who got trampled to death at the Walmart on Black Friday a few years back, or tell you that you're probably going to burn in hell if you wake up at 4am and stand in line for a new big screen TV. Nope, I'll leave all of that to your own conscience.
I was just thinking about how beautiful it is that we have a whole day set aside to be thankful-- and that it just happens to be the day before Black Friday. We have a day to reflect on all the things we have, to soak in the abundance of our gifts & comfort and to thank our Creator for them. We come together with our families & share the extravagance of the good things we have, and acknowledge our gratitude for it. What a healthy and beautiful tradition to observe in a culture where we so rarely think about all that we have.
And then, the very next day, while we are full to the brim with thankfulness & the awareness of all the good things in our lives, we can turn our thoughts towards Christmas and giving to others.
*Sigh* If only that were reality. Usually, mom stresses out in the kitchen, making this ridiculous meal for 20 other family members who are watching football in the other room. Then, everyone comes together, gorges themselves, falls asleep feeling sick, wakes up 2hrs later & has seconds. After that, we wake up at 4am, buy thousands of dollars worth of stuff, get lost in the stress, pressure & endless force of that Voice that tells us we need more. And then, sometime after Christmas, we wonder if there isn't a better way to do it.
And yet, here it is, all laid out for us. A whole day to be thankful, to reflect on what we have, not what the TV tells us we need. I wonder what would happen if we literally made a list of all the things we are thankful for-- the stuff we usually forget, like indoor plumbing, access to clean water, being able to eat food everyday, a safe place to sleep, the sound of silence, or the feel of a really hot shower.
I wonder if we were to enter Christmastime in that context, how our mindset would change, how our spending would change-- not just financial spending, but time & resources & thoughts & words.
Maybe Thanksgiving isn't just a blip on the Holiday radar, in between Halloween & Black Friday, but an actual stopping point to help us enter in. And I think, that if we enter with intentionality & thoughtfulness, we'll be headed in a good direction.