No sooner the costumes and scarecrows get put away, the last traces of candy vanish and the pumpkins get discarded, no sooner the fall harvest items disappear from store shelves–then all the shiny glitz and adornments for Christmas start appearing.
One by one they start lining shelves. Sometimes Christmas appears alongside autumn, even before November.
I try to put the blinders on and walk past the displays. But it’s all there, trying to grab my attention.
So what happened to Thanksgiving?
In the world of retail and advertising I’m sure that the purpose isn’t to conjure up feelings of thankfulness and contentment in us.
The message that seems to bombard us is that more of anything and everything will make us happier. The message is reach, grab, take, more is better and we’re inclined to think that what we want is what we need.
Frantic, trying to create Christmas, thinking we have to keep up with all of it…well, it can make your head spin.
During this season that’s all about giving thanks, we feel it deep in our bones as the glossy; slick fliers start appearing in our mailboxes. It’s like a pressure that pushes against us to hurry up. Hurry up and get things done.
We may even start dreading the holidays when the countdown to Christmas begins and it’s printed in big letters across the pages of advertisements. There are 50 days left until Christmas, then 49, 48, 47, 46, 45…and on it goes..until we get to 1 more day and then THE day.
Catalogs, magazines, newspapers, oh my!
Take a deep breath–now let it out. We don’t have surrender to the pull. Easier said than done, you say? I get it. It’s not easy when we’re surrounded by everything that is telling us what we have to do, buy, be, and become to bring Merry and Bright into our homes.
Our environment is a far cry from the Plymouth settlers when they arrived in the new world in 1620. Arriving just as the cold weather was about to set in, they weren’t prepared for the harsh New England winter. Half or more of the settlers died.
It was with the help from a tribe of Native Americans, who taught them how to fish, hunt, farm and survive, that they had a bountiful harvest in the fall of 1621 and they celebrated. Boy did they celebrate…they had a 3 day feast (inviting the natives to join them) and gave thanks to God. Thanking Him for His provision, bounty and help. It was the first Thanksgiving day that would eventually become a national holiday.
Giving thanks, for the Plymouth settlers back in 1621, came from a deep place of gratitude to God for sustaining them and giving them a harvest that would carry them through their second winter in the new world.
What they saw coming from the hand of God, we can easily take for granted these days.
We who have supermarkets rarely go hungry but if we look back and reflect over the past year–on the third Thursday of November–I bet we can come up with a pretty comprehensive gratitude list.
Everyday, not just this month, I’d like to live with a thankful heart…sort of like thanks-living! Living in thanks but especially this November I’m going to concentrate on not allowing the retailers to steal Thanksgiving from me.
I’m going to try hard not to fall for their traps with the glitter, dazzle, this new gadget and that new thing to make me feel discontented.
We can’t give thanks when we focus on all that we don’t have.
How about you? Will you join me? As you look over the past year, what are you most thankful for?
Then tell God.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
The more we give thanks the more we feel blessed.
Written by: Nancy Janiga ©2014