Saturday, November 26, 2011


by Andrew Cromwell

Just a few short days ago we celebrated Thanksgiving. Many of us gathered together with our families and paused to say “Thank You” to God, echoing the prayers given by the pilgrims so many years ago. Oh, and we ate too, we gorged ourselves with turkey and fixings or with tamales or ham or whatever it is that your family prepares.

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday. It seems it is of little use to the retail machine that drives our economy. The marketing possibilities at Thanksgiving seem to be somewhat limited to turkey decorations and food. Sandwiched between Halloween—the fastest growing retail sales holiday at nearly $7 billion spent on decor, costumes and candy—and Christmas—at a whopping $465 billion—poor, sad, neglected Thanksgiving offers little in the way of sales. That is, unless you consider Thanksgiving merely the doorstep to Black Friday, but then we are back to Christmas.

In one comic satire being passed around this season, the Thanksgiving turkey is shown angrily lamenting that he doesn’t really even get one measly day anymore! The moment Halloween is over, the stores are redecorated with reds and silvers, Christmas carols are playing at top volume and “leaked” Black Friday ads are everywhere. This Santa guy has really overstepped his boundaries!

Maybe the reason Thanksgiving is overlooked is because it stands for something that is in direct opposition to the consumerism that makes this world go around. To truly be thankful, we must hit the pause button. We must take a break from the frenzied shopping and spending and stop the complaining about how we are unhappy with what we have. Instead, we must take a look at what we do have and turn our hearts in gratitude to the One who has made it all possible.

Truly saying “thank you” does not come naturally to us. That is why our parents had to teach us to say it (any parent will tell you there is no child that didn’t need a lesson on saying “thank you”). But being thankful is not just words that we say, it is an attitude of the heart. Scriptures says in Ephesians 5:20, “Always and for everything, give thanks to our God and Father in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

I find it interesting, that the more grateful I am, the less that I need to “keep me happy.” When I am aware of how good my life really is, of how much God has given me, then I am less and less concerned with my next purchase or my current reason to be dissatisfied with my life.

Maybe that’s why retailers don’t spend too much time reminding us how much we have to be thankful for?

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