Thanksgiving Day is approaching. If you are wondering what that is, it is also known as Turkey Day, Football Day, The Eve of Black Friday and God only knows what else.
Eating turkey at the meal has been around since the pilgrims; the pilgrims did not play football, but throwing, running with and kicking the pigskin has been around long enough for anyone alive not to remember an American Thanksgiving without it.
The parades, how can anyone forget the parades? I remember as a child waking up on Thanksgiving morning, turning on the television and watching the floats and the marching bands, all in living black and white. After 40 years of marriage Julie still gives me a weird look when I turn the TV on Thanksgiving morning looking for a parade.
In recent years Black Friday, that one day of the year when stores offer incredible savings that shoppers cannot resist, has been creeping earlier and earlier into Thursday. Back in the day stores opened at 6 a.m. on Friday, then it was 5 a.m., 2 a.m., midnight. Now some stores do not close on Thursday; they only announce the time the Black Friday sale begins. Regardless if the store is closed Thursday or not, many Black Friday sales start sometime Thursday afternoon.
The reason the day of giant sales is called “Black Friday” is that the sales of that one day will put some retailers in the black for the year, in other words, the day is needed for the stores to make a profit. Maybe I do not understand economics enough, but I have always wondered … if selling items at those low prices for one day erased all the loses of the year, why not sell products at those same prices all year and really make a profit?
Lastly, on Thanksgiving Day is the feast. Usually turkey and all the dressings. With most families, it is the biggest meal of the year. Often people will travel from one side of the continent to the other for the Turkey Day meal. Family members who never have dinner together will join each other at the dinner table on this day. Many military members will, if possible, take leave and travel halfway around the world to be with family on this wonderful holiday.
The above describes your typical American Thanksgiving Day. Something is missing: did you notice? There was no mention of any giving of thanks.
Some will argue that interwoven within Thanksgiving Day is the giving of thanks. Honestly? What percentage of the people standing in a checkout line behind several dozens of other people at 4:15 a.m. on Black Friday are thanking and praising God for the opportunity of being there?
The first Thanksgiving – remember the pilgrims – was a day set aside to give thanks to God for the bountiful harvest He provided.
Many of us are thankful for the food, family, a day off work, and even the opportunity to shop, but there is a difference between being grateful for the situation we are in and being thankful to the person who placed us in that circumstance.
Example – the pilgrims were thankful to God for the bountiful harvest. Think of it; the pilgrims did all the work. They planted the seeds, they harvest the crops, but they also understood, God gave life to those seeds, He sent the sunshine and the rain.
Few Americans are killing their turkey, or harvesting the corn they planted in the spring to place on the Thanksgiving Day table. However, how many of us are thankful to God for the income to purchase the food, the talent to cook the food, the television to watch the parades and football games, the vehicle that brings the relatives to visit, the finances to purchase all those non-essentials that Black Friday brings?
Anymore, it seems we jump from Halloween to Christmas, with little or no thought of giving thanks. Yes, Black Friday is given much press, with the sales and all, but again, hardly a mention of giving thanks to God, which is the intent of the holiday.
Deuteronomy 8:10, “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.” The pilgrims understood this. I wonder how much 21st century America understands.