“Don’t spoil what you have by desiring what you don’t have; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.” —Epicurus
Today, in the United States, we celebrate a holiday begun in 1789 by our first president, George Washington, commemorating an event which happened a couple hundred years earlier. In his proclamation the president stated: “this is a day of national thanksgiving and prayer.” A day for us to gather in remembrance and gratitude for all the blessings bestowed upon each of us, and for us, in prayer, to unite with our Creator as the one who has bestowed the blessings we now celebrate.
Thanksgiving traditionally begins that time of the year where we celebrate family, joy, peace and tradition as we head down the road to Christmas Day and later New Year’s Eve/day. A special and joyous time of the year for many! We recall those wonderfully special moments we shared as a child; and now, as adults, seeing that same joy, wonder and amazement through the eyes of children!
Remembering our past and viewing the present through the eyes of children hopefully brings us a sense of awe and wonder. Once again igniting in us that yearning to believe in things we may no longer believe in as adults.
On Thanksgiving Day, while many are preparing feasts for family and friends, we are in a spirit of joy, peace and thankfulness. We recall all that we have, and cherish those with whom we have gathered. All is right in the world. Then comes Friday, the next “holiday”, aptly termed “Black Friday” (although this year Black Friday now has an “eve”).
I am well aware of the origin of the term “Black Friday” in that it references the bottom-line budgetary profits for businesses selling goods. But, in the behavior of many, “Black Friday” appears aptly termed. How many news stories will we see telling about chaos, fights, stabbings, shootings, thefts, and the like as people swarm and storm local stores for “savings”. What happened to the joy and peace of Thanksgiving? What happened to the sense of thankfulness? What about the childhood innocence of wonder and believe? How is it that we have turned the holiday season of wonderment, joy and peace into darkness?
I do not write this because I am against consumerism nor capitalism. I, like others, benefit from an economy based on people spending their money. My concern focuses on our perspective and intentions. Do the goods I feel I need take over my life? What are my priorities in life? Does family and faith come first or my need to acquire more things?
In Christian scripture we read about Jesus speaking against money and physical goods. It isn’t so much that Jesus is against money and goods, rather, Jesus challenges us to keep the proper perspective Do we rely on our God or our things? What is more important in our life, pushing and shoving the day after Thanksgiving, or enjoying family and thanking God for what we have and sharing with those in need.
How can we challenge ourselves, in our materialistic society, to “believe” in those parts of our lives greater than ourselves, namely, family, society, religion. How do we, on a daily basis, spread to others a sense of wonderment and “belief”?
Today, and throughout this holiday season, please take a moment and reflect on your perspective? Remind yourself of your child sense of wonder, joy and peace. Once again, for a moment, be “child-like”. Keep “thanks” in Thanksgiving!