I know I fall into that camp.
Seriously…it’s like our culture is allergic to Thanksgiving.
Fall arrives…and it’s Halloween for two months. Halloween ends…and it’s Christmas for two months.Yet, lost in between…within the crazy carousel of “to do” lists, peppy parties and shopping sessions is the most underrated holiday of the year…
… (*turkey drumstick roll please*)…Thanksgiving.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me a cup of Yuletide bliss. I’m not trying to undercut the most wonderful season of all.
It’s just that I balk at the idea of jumping on the premature Christmas celebration bandwagon.
And note: for those who don’t know, yes, I do consider pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebration to be premature.
I mean…think about it. Our American calendar is not friendly to ‘Turkey Day’ at all.
Not only is it sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, but every year, you have Black Friday encroaching on its territory. In fact, one might as well call Thanksgiving, ‘Black Friday Eve’, just because our culture is more consumed with ‘getting stuff’ than not ‘for-getting’ the very things that make it possible in the first place.
But I guess…in the end, it’s less about the timeline and more about what’s overlooked.
‘Cause I’ll be honest. I think it’s all too easy to miss out on the true spirit of Thanksgiving…what the day stands for…and its place as the front door to worship…
…whether it’s the inundation of consumerism or the white noise of masses trying to convince others they’re worth buying into… no matter how you slice it, there’s just so much competing for our attention this time of year.
It’s almost as if our culture exalts gratitude as a secondary priority…along with the notion that if there is any “relevance”, it’s because we somehow earned the “right” to appreciate the attitude.
But only if we’d be willing to celebrate the life we’ve been given*…imagine how the world around us would change.
If we just took more time to reflect on the privilege of being alive…of being created…of having a unique purpose…and having the opportunity to live it well…
…that’s ultimately what Thanksgiving is all about!
And sure, I know we should be thankful every day of the year. It’s not like Thanksgiving is the only day we can demonstrate gratitude.
But that doesn’t mean we downplay the day as a fun, little extra that primarily serves to jumpstart Christmas.
‘Cause truth is: Thanksgiving is not Christmas’ footstool.
It’s not a holiday filler to get us through the dog days of fall.
And it’s certainly more than a day to [solely] rejoice in what we have.
For if we truly dig deep into the stuffing of Thanksgiving, we find its first and foremostly a day to celebrate who we are.
For what we have is a byproduct of not only who we are, but who we reflect. And hear me, I’m not saying it’s meaningless to be grateful for achievements and milestones; however, if we limit expressions of thanksgiving to just the people in our midst and the roof over our head, then we’re not quite hitting the bullseye of why we celebrate what we celebrate.
Thus, I contend the best way to be thankful is to applaud God…to bring a gift of laughter…of joy…and lay it at His feet. You may not be musically inclined, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sing yourself into his presence (Psalm 100:1-2,MSG).
Because what matters most…is knowing God is God, and God, God. He made us. We’re His people…the well-tended sheep of an all-generous Shepherd with the blessed opportunity to enter His gates with thanksgiving (v. 3-4, MSG).
How flippin’ awesome is that?
So I guess…upon further review, maybe it’s not such a bad thing that Thanksgiving comes one month before Christmas.
‘Cause bottom line: The heart of Thanksgiving is the gateway to embracing the reason why we’re here…in understanding why God would send His only son to take on flesh and die for us.
In other words, Thanksgiving positions us to know the real reason for the season**…and calibrates our entrance into the year’s most joyful month.
I don’t know about you…but I’m super grateful to rest secure in that fact.And on that note, I bid a fond Thanksgiving/Thanksliving farewell to you and yours.
Be blessed in all you say and do,
*as opposed to saying “life we have”
** i.e. the Christmas season
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