You can listen to this week’s Devotional here
Author: Carolyn Gard
Three days after Halloween I went into the grocery store and their Christmas displays were up. At the coffee shop I got a latte served in a Christmas cup. When I went into the bookstore, I was greeted with a table full of Christmas books. Costco had Christmas displays up before Halloween. Thanksgiving used to mark the beginning of the Christmas season. Today, however, Thanksgiving is just another day in the middle of the holiday buying season.
Before 1939, Thanksgiving was the last Thursday in November. That year, in order to improve retail sales after the Depression, President Roosevelt officially changed it to the fourth Thursday in November to give retailers an extra week of sales. Unfortunately, that seems to have had unintended consequences. Black Friday (another advertising gimmick) shopping now starts before Thanksgiving. One of the ads I got was for a mattress sale; I hadn’t realized that a mattress is something you would buy as a present for someone else. Another selling gimmick is to urge you to come to the store at 7:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, I tried that one time. While there were some good bargains, waiting in line for an hour to check out turned me off to that experience.
An alien landing here the week before Thanksgiving might assume that the most important way for earthlings to celebrate a special day is to buy.
Trite as it seems, we need to remember the true reason for Thanksgiving: a time for family and friends to gather around a table with the sole purpose of sharing food and memories.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Christmas season didn’t start until after Thanksgiving, if we could celebrate the holiday for what it is, and not as a springboard for the next holiday?
So now that it’s the week after Thanksgiving, go ahead and put up the decorations, check out the church services and music programs, and play Christmas carols 24/7 until your spouse threatens to leave and not come back until January.
Let’s not tangle up Thanksgiving and Christmas, but keep them separate and enjoy each one in its own way.
God, help us to keep our life in balance by treating each occasion with the attention that it deserves.