So I hear a lot about how we need to put the Christ back into Christmas. Now make no mistake, I am a Christian (Presbyterian to be more specific) and I agree we could all use more Christ in our lives, but in my mind, it is impossible to take him out of ANYTHING! He's tenacious that way, always all up in my business, making me a better Lucy, ever present with his unending grace and expecting me to love others...just BECAUSE! So this premise that we can take Christ out of Christmas, or anything else is a bit ludicrous, in my humble opinion. And don't get me wrong, it's not that we are getting Christmas "right" in our society, but to me you have to start with fixing the "Thanks" in November before you can get on with fixing the "giving" in December.
Thanksgiving has ALWAYS been my favorite holiday. In fact I like it so much that in 1996, when planning my wedding, I initially tried to schedule our nuptials for Thanksgiving weekend but the US Army decided that Ethan Waterbury would be in Panama. And the US Army didn't give a rat's ass about my love for Thanksgiving so we made do with August. And 18 years later, tomorrow is go time in this house as my husband and I host family and friends here at our house for Thanksgiving. My Turkey is swimming in brine, my homemade cornbread is drying for the dressing and a pumpkin pie will be born into this world around 11:18am (depending upon when I publish this fine literary specimen).
So why is Thanksgiving my favorite holiday? Well hell, what's not to love? It is a day off from work (for most) built around the premise of giving thanks, eating wonderful food, & visiting with the ones you love. Historically speaking, there are many politically laden versions of how Thanksgiving originally went down (much of which makes this bleeding heart liberal proud and cringe at the same time) but in 2014, I just feel like we are missing it.
It seems like so many in our culture are "going through the motions" to get to the Black Friday part of Thanksgiving, which in my mind, should be no part of it at all. While sightings of Sasquatch may be rare, sightings of Christmas trees the day after Halloween have become common place. There is a radio station in Lexington that converts to Christmas music on November 1st, subscribing to the 55 days of Christmas model which seems to have become pervasive in our society.
We blow past the Thanks! to get to the giving. And that folks, is just plain sad. We think that giving people material things makes up for not giving them our thanks, time, love and affection. Our souls have been eroded by Black Friday retail "deals" and our collective concern for humanity has been replaced by a concern for keeping up the the Joneses (and the Smiths too, or so it seems!)
Occasionally I will run across folks in my facebook newsfeed that will take the time to express an attitude of gratitude about the simpler things in their lives and I find this encouraging. So on this Thanksgiving Eve I am publishing my own attitude of gratitude list in an attempt to set an example of how to get the "black" out of this sacred day. Here goes...
I am thankful for...
- those who enrich my life by their presence
- those who love and serve others who are so desperately in need of love and services
- those who put themselves out there to affect positive change in their community
- those who use their voice to speak their mind for the voices that have been silenced
- those who sacrifice their lives to protect mine
- the innocence of children and the wonder in which they approach life
- an appreciation for all that is beautiful in this life, the ordinary and the extraordinary
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything for which I am thankful, it is a pretty good start. And, money cannot buy any of the above. For those who will get up from their Thanksgiving table tomorrow to go "cash in" on those material goods, the reality is that it is your soul you are selling. Life isn't found in what is bought and sold, it is found in experiences and memories and those are not for sale, they are for the taking and making.
May your Thanksgiving table be filled with an abundance of food and those you choose to spend it with be filled with an abundance of love and thankfulness for all that is good and beautiful in this life.