This morning I heard that in five years, most stores will be open on Thanksgiving. I remember feeling sick to my stomach when stores started doing that last year. And not just because of the people who wouldn’t be able to spend what is perhaps the most family-focused holiday with their families (perhaps because it has nothing to do with getting stuff?). It’s the irony of it that makes me sick—a day intended for showing thankfulness has been turned into a day of greed.

One article I read quoted a Best Buy representative, who basically said they’re just giving customers what they obviously want. I would guess it has less to do with people wanting to shop on Thanksgiving and more to do with people wanting (and in some cases, needing) to save as much money as possible. So if the stores offer their best deals on Thanksgiving, that’s when they’ll to shop.

I recognize my thinking on that point may be a little naive—that want-to-save could easily be construed as greed in many situations. And there are people out there who would much rather be shopping on Thanksgiving than spending time with their families. (I can sympathize—it can be torture to spend holidays with a royally messed up family. Like Christmas the year my parents separated—we all got together on Christmas morning like nothing had changed, but it had. It may be one of the most awkward things I’ve ever experienced. And this year we’re going all the way to Michigan to see my family, but I don’t even know if we’re going to have a Thanksgiving dinner!) But that doesn’t change that Thanksgiving is meant to be a day to show thanks.

Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863. Here’s part of his official declaration:

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

Part of me wonders if that’s the problem in our country. We’ve removed God from everything else—why not remove Him from Thanksgiving, too, even if it is a day set aside to offer “Thanksgiving and Praise to ourbeneficient Father.”To add to the irony, Lincoln also said,

I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for each singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union.

 So I won’t be shopping this Thanskgiving. Instead, I intend to spend the day thanking God for His many blessings, asking Him for forgiveness (for myself and my country), and begging Him to align America with His plan—‘cause I’m pretty sure buying more stuff (that will likely be broken in six months) instead of Thanking Him for what He’s already provided is not part of His plan.

One thought on “Thankfulness?

  1. Lizzie Goldsmith

    Sarah, thanks for the reminder that not all people shop on Thanksgiving because they want to, but because they need to get the best deals, or because they may want to avoid difficult situations with family. It’s easy to generalize, but important not to.

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