"Now let me think," she began. "Thanksgiving. That's the day when we think about all the stuff we have. And how we want more things than anybody else has. And how we don't care about anybody but ourselves. And ..."
"No!" the preschool kids were starting to chorus! "No-o-o!"
Then one little guy in the middle of the pack looked up and chirped, "That's not Thanksgiving, Miss Michelle. That's Christmas!"
Little children understand that there is something unique about the fourth Thursday in November. As much as I love Christmas, its commercialism gone to seed leaves me feeling jaded at times. Our children still have Halloween candy in their mouths when the store windows and TV ads begin the Santa Shakedown.
Thanksgiving has somehow escaped almost unscathed. Oh, the florists may do a little extra business. And there are greeting cards for Thanksgiving. But, the focus of the day is still generations gathered at a table. The traditional meal is pre-microwave. And, so far at least, there is no "McTurkey" or cranberry pizza.
An essay by Walter Shapiro made this point several years back:
In a nation where the mall never palls and seven-days-a-week shopping seems enshrined as a civic religion, Thanksgiving stands out as an oasis of tranquility and a reminder of the values that once tempered America's materialism. This Thursday give thanks for the one holiday that cannot be bought.
Before you sit down to your loaded table this week, try to do something that helps insure that a person or family whose year has been bleaker than yours will have a hearty Thanksgiving meal too. Then, when you finally do sit down to your own, don't feel guilty — just blessed — and bow with your dear ones to give God your sincere gratitude. As you get up from a table still heavy with leftovers, pray silently for God to make you sensitive to those whose hearts cry out for help.
The generous will themselves be blessed,
for they share their food with the poor (Proverbs 22:9 TNIV).