Friday, November 26, 2010

Saving Thanksgiving

I just watched a report online about a recent consumer trend in America--retailers opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day for early Christmas shopping. It seems four in the morning on "Black Friday" isn't early enough anymore. Commentators will surely talk about the financial benefit this will bring to companies trying to boost profits this year, but I wonder about what this trend says about Thanksgiving Day itself.

If more and more people are driving out to stores after pulling away from the table on Thanksgiving Day it seems to me that family togetherness and traditions including reflection on the provision of God are becoming less and less important. My concern for America as a whole is high, but my concern for Christian families is even higher. Of all people we should place a high value on thankful reflections. But I fear we are too easily yielding to materialism. Instead of discussing matters of eternal importance with our loved ones we are lured by the circulars to the mall.

If I sensed in those I talk to a more general attitude of thankfulness throughout the year I would not make so much of this diminishing holiday. But we need a thankful spot on the calendar as a reliable reminder, calling us back to that which we should never forget--namely, the goodness of God. But now one day is becoming half a day. And a half a day may turn into a token prayer before dividing the turkey. I ask, how much more of this holiday can we give away before there is nothing left?

If we want to stem the tide of encroaching materialism let us devise traditions--or revive old ones--that have these or similar characteristics:
1. Bring the family together
2. Bring out the Bible
3. Feature the wisdom of parents and grandparents
4. Tell tales or family history
5. Testify to the Lord's faithfulness

By way of example, we place unpopped popcorn kernels in a dish or basket each year after the main meal. While we're waiting for enough room to squeeze in some dessert we sit in a circle and take kernels out in turn. After all have taken some we send the dish around a second time and fill it up with our thankfulness as we return the kernels to their source. Exercises such as this can have an incalculable impact on children as well as those who care for them.

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare 
your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
                                                                  -Psalm 71:18

Black Friday pic from:

1 comment:

Hebrew11:1 said...

Christmas has become America's Idol instead of Jesus Christ as our Savior.