It happened over a month ago; Christmas commercials! I was flabbergasted. We hadn’t even celebrated the pagan ritual of Halloween and the conglomerates of the world decided to flood the airwaves with advertisements of the sales, gizmos and gadgets that I had to buy for my loved ones. It was enough to drive me to distraction.
I love Christmas! Don’t get me wrong, it is one of my favorite holidays. But what I don’t like is the commercialization that comes along with Christmas (as I have pointed out before); especially when Christmas commercials start at the end of October. And then a week ago, I started to read reports about stores that are opening on Thanksgiving Day in order to get a jump on the holiday rush. Apparently, Thursday is the new Black Friday!
When did Thanksgiving lose its significance in our country?
Our family celebrates Thanksgiving and contrary to many of my friends’ opinions, our traditions are not solely about food and football. Thanksgiving is the only American holiday that allows me to take a moment to give thanks and praise for the blessings I have in my life. It is a day when I can look back on all of the great things that have happened to me over the past year, and honor the people who have made my life an amazing journey. And most of all, I am able to take a moment to reflect and thank God for the gifts he has bestowed upon me.
Christmas music and decorations are not allowed in our home prior to Thanksgiving. I almost vetoed the Christmas Parade in Raleigh this past weekend because of the date, but I acquiesced. Josh and Chloe are sad about missing the Quincy Christmas Parade back in Massachusetts, so we decided to start a new tradition here.
I almost missed church on Sunday. Ironically, the minister gave a sermon about Thanksgiving entitled “laus deo.” Pastor Bill really brought some of the historical relevance of Thanksgiving to life. But more importantly, he touched on the themes and thoughts that I been drafting on paper for the past couple of weeks. As I left the chapel on Sunday, my belief in the significance of Thanksgiving had been reaffirmed.
Stephanie and I are hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner in North Carolina. Two of my brothers and a friend are going to join us this Thursday. Our house is going to be one large structure of constructive chaos. Seven adults, one college bound young man and four kids will absolutely guarantee that there will be debates, discussions, laughter, merriment, cooking, cleaning, football, food, music, many, many, many surprises and sheer exhaustion!
But at the end of the day on Thursday, as I am watching football while sitting on my couch in a food coma, I will be completely content. And I will silently look heavenward and offer up one more prayer of Thanksgiving. Laus Deo! Thank you for bringing all of these people into my home and for all of the people whom I love so dearly who are celebrating your blessings elsewhere. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to reflect on my life and to see that all of the small blessings are so much more than I truly deserve. Thank you for the music, the football and the many, many, many surprises. Thank you for all of the laughter; may it last forever! And finally, Laus Deo; praise be to God for reminding me how amazing my life has been and how endless the possibilities will be in the future!
I am surrounded by incredible people. They bring so much joy, love and laughter into my life each and every day. I am thankful that there is one holiday every year when I can sit back, relax and reflect upon everything and everyone; the trials, the tribulations and all of those little moments that happen in between. I am thankful for a significant American holiday like Thanksgiving! And for that reason alone; Christmas can wait!