The Madison Avenue buzz wants Americans to focus on November 27th, two weeks from today, because that’s Black Friday. And if we walked through WalMart in Ocotber, we experienced whip lash, seeing Halloween and Christmas items across from each other in the same aisle. What happened to Thanksgiving? Shhhh, let’s keep it our little secret lest the moguls of the advertising world start to market “Thank Ye” trees with mini Pilgrims, tiny conucopias, and strings of yellow, orange and green lights. No, except for the food and florist ads, Thanksgiving has not yet fallen to commercialism. And for that I am extremely grateful.
Thanksgiving centers around family traditions, soup kitchens that feed the homeless, gardens’ bounties of food and beauty, people stopping to express genuine thankfulness for their blessings. When our sons lived at home, we placed five kernels of corn on their plate one year, talked about the first Thanksgiving, and asked them to name five items of personal thanksgiving. Over the years, the activity morphed into expressions such as, “I’m thankful for my family, friends, house, food, car that runs…” You get the idea. While we did appreciated these things, the reporting sounded somewhat rote and not well thought out. Rarely did someone thank the Lord for the ability to keep praying for someone who was tough to like. We didn’t usually thank God for character development when it came slowly and with halting steps.
Busyness posed another problem as I shopped, baked, made a floral arrangement, ironed the good table cloth, and got out the china for this family occasion. I had not given much over-the-entire-month time to replay the year in my mind, to really count my blessings. The truth expressed in Ephesians 5:19-20 advocates continual thanksgiving. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So this year I grabbed my journal when the specific things came to mind and wrote them down. One blessing has come from my being part of the local garden club’s herb committee. They taught me about putting the last of autumn’s leaves and home grown lavender into glycerin water to create the free arrangement pictured above. Such a simple joy, an expression of beauty that causes me to reflect on God’s creation. I have already listed nearly 30 things now, taking the time to savor each as it has come to mind. As the advertisers flood the mailbox with the November 27th sales, I hope they continue to skip Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday and I don’t want commercialism to ruin it!