Thanksgiving is upon us. Can you believe that!? It seemed like fall was puttering along at a snail’s pace until Halloween hit; now it’s running at NASCAR speed! Where is the time going?
Speaking of Thanksgiving… Am I the only who still recognizes it as a holiday that takes place before Christmas? We all know that the stores are bringing in their Christmas merchandise earlier and earlier every year. In fact, the day after Halloween, I went to Walmart and the entire store was decked out… Even the concrete columns in front of the door had candy cane cozies. 😲 I think Hobby Lobby brought out their Christmas decor in August!
But it seems that, as a result, people are decorating earlier and earlier too. Not that decorating for Christmas is bad… In fact, I can hardly wait to decorate myself. But, in my opinion, once you put up those decorations, fall, harvest, and all things reminiscent of Thanksgiving are gone. Consider with me… We eat pretty much the same spread for both Christmas and Thanksgiving… We get together with family for both Christmas and Thanksgiving… So aside from opening presents, what’s the difference in your celebration if the house is all decked out in red and green?
I think we forget what Thanksgiving is really about, why it was started, and it’s importance when we allow ourselves to skip right past it to Christmas. Maybe it’s because we don’t work the land and harvest our food anymore… Since we can just drive to the store and get food year round from whatever “season” we are craving, we don’t remember that there is a distinct harvest time and work involved in bringing in that harvest. Maybe, as a nation, we have lost our thankfulness to the greedy, selfish society that we live in. Whatever the reason, I think it’s important to be reminded of the reason Thanksgiving appears on our calendars in the first place and take some time to purposefully, thankfully, observe this important holiday.
So VERY briefly, let’s go back to elementary history class (they do still teach about this in school, right?). Back in the early 1600’s, protestant Christians in England were tired of the monarchy limiting their faith to a specific religion. They wanted to worship God freely and openly in a way that they deemed best, based on the Bible. So they rebelled against the Crown and sailed to America (remember the Mayflower!).
That first year the conditions were very hard. Many pilgrims died. They didn’t have time to grow food for winter or to build adequate dwellings. The next year, some friendly Indians helped them learn how to farm the land in this New World so they would have adequate food stores the following winter. Once they had completed the harvest, they were so grateful to God, not only for their new freedom, but for providing them with food, friends, and the things they needed to survive the winter. To show their appreciation, they held a feast, a “thanks giving,” for three days to celebrate all that God had done for them. Later, Thanksgiving was made an official holiday in America to be observed every year in remembrance of God’s goodness.
So there you have it… The reason we need to stop and observe this forgotten holiday. Don’t let it become just another day off work. Celebrate it, or rather, observe it for what it is. Take time to ponder all God has done for you. Thank Him for His everlasting goodness.
What about you? Do you decorate early for Christmas? Why or why not?