For Thanksgiving this year, I was able to enjoy a delicious meal with my family. My husband and I drove out to Orange County and stayed with my dad and my stepmom Kim. On Thursday, my aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents came over and we spent the day cooking and enjoying one another’s company. It was a great time together!
I enjoy Thanksgiving so much not only because of the time I get to spend with family and the delicious food, but because it is a time to take a step back and reflect on all of the things that I have to be thankful for. God has blessed me with so much. I have an amazing husband and a deeply fulfilling marriage. I have a wonderful family including three parents who love me, two brothers who I can share life with, and many aunts, uncles, and grandparents who make my family the colorful, fun, and loving group of people that it is. I have my best friends, Taylor and Halston, and so many other close friends to fill my life with joy. I have the best pets in the world, Marley, Booda, Rocky, and Nilly.
Besides all of those things, I am blessed to have all of my needs taken care of. I have a comfortable place to live, plenty of clothes, and I’ve never gone hungry. I have luxuries that so many people in the world don’t even think to wish for. I am in good health and have a body that works the way that it should. Overall, I am extraordinarily lucky to have the life that I do. As easy as it is to take all of that for granted, I try to remember each day to be thankful for what I have. Although many people have less or more than I do, I believe that everybody can find something to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is an extra special day to take some time out to think about all that we have, no matter how little or how much that may be. Of course, for those of us that have a lot, I also think that Thanksgiving is a good reminder for us to give to others who don’t.
I feel saddened by some of the attitudes that people have adopted towards Thanksgiving. It seems that more and more people are beginning to see it as a day to indulge, instead of as a day to give thanks. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good meal, but I believe that the food is just a bonus, a way of celebrating all of the things that we have in life. More concerning to me is the growing Thanksgiving tradition of commercial indulgence. This year, many stores started their Black Friday sales on Thursday, and even before this latest trend there has traditionally been a huge emphasis on the goal of buying things immediately after Thanksgiving. I, for one, truly do not understand this. It’s as if Thanksgiving is seen as a day to give thanks for all that we have, right before we go out and acquire more things just for the sake of it. It has become the holiday of commercialism.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think that there is anything wrong with taking advantage of a Black Friday sale to buy something that you already were planning on buying or that you “need.” But what I have seen way too much of lately is people planning on going Black Friday shopping just to see what they can find. Why not spend that money and time on something more important, like helping those in need? There is an abundance of worthy causes in our broken world that need financial support and volunteers. When people have so much money and time that they can go searching for ways to use it up, I believe that they have a responsibility to start giving something back. More than a responsibility, though, giving to others in need is a gift. It is a surefire way to find joy and fulfillment, because humans helping other humans is one of the most beautiful acts that we are capable of.
I didn’t want to write this post as a judgment to people. The truth is, we are all guilty of this greedy and selfish attitude to some degree. Who am I to say when somebody has taken it too far? All I know for sure is that Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, not greedy, and that we should all strive to live that way every other day of the year as well. Nobody is perfect, but we can and should all strive to be less focused on ourselves.
What it all comes down to for me is people. When I look at the world from God’s point of view (or at least as close to His point of view as I can get), I see people. I remember that God created every human being with love and care, and that He treasures each one of us beyond what we can know. That applies to the friendly cashier at the grocery store, the annoying little kid who’s screaming in the mall, the rude man in the fancy car who just cut you off, the woman who was trampled to death at Wal-Mart on Black Friday four years ago, and all of the people who let their greed take over enough to run her down. It applies to every single person that you casually pass by every day. And sometimes, or in my case at least, quite often, we forget that. We forget that people are the most important thing in this world. We arrange our priorities so that money, work, school, achievement, power, our hopes and dreams, and our opinions come first. Perhaps because of the sheer number of us, people become common and unimportant. That, I can’t help but feel, is a sheer tragedy.
Thanksgiving is a reminder to me to reevaluate my priorities. It is a reminder to be thankful for what I have, but also to be humbled by what others lack. It is a reminder to me that, when it all comes down to it, greed is the reason that our world is as broken as it is. And it is a powerful reminder that I need to strive every single day against my greedy and selfish nature, because if I don’t, then I am throwing everything that God has blessed me with back in His face by ignoring the most important thing that he cares about; people. When I think about it that way, I feel most thankful for the one thing that I have that I truly need, the one thing that nobody can take away—Jesus. Because of Jesus, I don’t have to feel guilty for my failures. Because of Jesus, I can push forward towards a more Godly version of me, the version who is selfless and generous and who makes the world a better place. And that is truly something to be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers, and I hope that we can all strive to be both thankful and generous during this holiday season. Even better, I hope that we can all strive to be that way every day.