When I was a child, had you asked me what my favorite holiday was, I would have said Christmas. However, as I got older and the whole gift giving thing diminished, I changed my mind – my favorite holiday had shifted to Thanksgiving. Now, when I say “favorite”, I’m not saying “most important. In that category Christmas and Easter definitely take the top two spots. I’m simply talking about most enjoyable, on that day.
What I began to really enjoy and appreciate about Thanksgiving was that it was unencumbered from all of the hype and hyperbole that began to eclipse the true meaning of Christmas. With Christmas it became difficult to focus on and celebrate its true meaning – the magnificence of the miracle of God coming to live among us. There was simply too much noise from the “please give me this, and don’t forget to give me that” crowd.
For a period of time, the Thanksgiving holiday was spared from the marketing and commercialization that had infected Christmas. And, that’s the time when Thanksgiving took over as my most enjoyable holiday. After all, what was there to commercialize with Thanksgiving? “Dial 1-800-top-bird, for the biggest and best turkey you’ve ever eaten!” No, Thanksgiving’s lack of hype-ability, left it isolated and unique among the major American holidays. There was nothing to sell. Nothing to distract participants from its simple and central focus – giving thanks!
But then it happened. Not all at once of course. It was a gradual creep. Insidious, stealthy, and subtle, but not unintentional. Oh no, this takeover was well planned by the merchandizing mercenaries. They just couldn’t stand the fact that there was a major holiday that didn’t involve people running out and buying something. Their solution? Simple. Create Black Friday. Talk about an evil plan! Let’s buttress a national day of Thanksgiving with a title that includes the word black, and make the sole emphasis of the day that of doing whatever it takes to beat your fellow consumers to the punch (pun intended), by getting to the deepest discounted items first.
And it worked. They pulled it off. Now, we have people literally giving thanks one day, only to be cursing and coming to blows the next because they missed out on getting the flat screen TV for 50% off. How far we’ve fallen. And, every year it gets worse. This year, some big retail stores are not waiting to open the next day. No, why wait, let’s have people pushing and shoving with one hand, while chewing on a turkey leg with the other.
Why am I so worked up about this? Last night while watching the football game, a commercial ended with this line, “Have a happy ThanksGETTING.”
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34