Friends, Romans, Countrymen (at least, those of you not discussing secession),
Thanksgiving is at this time a largely secular holiday about feasting, family, camaraderie, and [less happily] shopping. It was originally, of course, a holiday born out of a people noteworthy for their particular brand of religious fervor, but it has become a national holiday much more closely associated with a general notion of thanks for what we do have, family, and … football.
I think we have a lot to be grateful for even as we face challenges. Everyone can discern this for themselves, but I know in my own circumstances, while my family and extended family face some stiff challenges, we have much for which we can and will give thanks. Not a few people around us and among our neighbors are owed a portion of that thanks, as well, and I will be sure to make that known.
I know shopping has become a big part of this holiday, as well. On some levels, I think this largely harmless and probably good for our economy right now. I don’t mind the occasional foray into our halls of commerce–especially if there is a book store, or the like–but I will almost certainly do no Black Friday shopping unless it is online. If I happen to go out this week and do some shopping, I personally will target the local mom and pop shops in my community and city. The flip-side, naturally, of this developed habit is the pervasive consumerism and greed that has gotten us into credit debt throughout our country. Don’t forget to enjoy the good and low-cost things in life this week: good food, good company, and good times–not necessarily costly times or “great sales.”
Now, I’m not going to cover the history of Thanksgiving, but you can take a look at the Plimoth Plantation. The history is, as I hope everyone knows, not quite the story we learned in elementary school or as we performed it in our school plays. The holiday obscures historical injustices associated with events that precipitated and coincided with the original Thanksgiving, but I rarely see it as a holiday in any historical context, anymore–especially because the myth is so detached from the reality. It is increasingly the most present of holidays, emphasizing you, your family, your neighborhood and community in the now more than any other. So, I won’t belabor the point, here.
I just wanted to share some brief thoughts on a really cool holiday, if you think about it, in our nation that emphasizes so many of the things that are good about people–even if some people simply treat it as an opportunity for greed. (My thoughts go out to all the poor folks working hard throughout the week, too.)
Please, be happy, safe, generous, and grateful this Thanksgiving.