Despite their best attempts, Thanksgiving is the one holiday the American retail industry has not been able to completely ruin. If you don’t farm turkeys or grow cranberries, there is just not enough money to be made off of it. That is why they skip it and jump from Halloween to Christmas. They can’t ruin it so they skip it.
There is a lot to like about Thanksgiving. I love the fact we don’t buy each other gifts. You don’t have to get a loan to celebrate Thanksgiving. You just buy some food and eat it. Simple.
I love the fact that we have one standardized Thanksgiving narrative (regardless of historical accuracy) and we stick to it. I am glad we don’t have fictional stories on Thanksgiving. No one wants to hear about the Thanksgiving Puritan riding in a magical Buggy pulled by steroid enhanced turkeys who travel all over the world on Thanksgiving Eve; breaking into homes and giving good boys and girls cans of canned, gelatinous cranberry sauce.
Thanksgiving is about turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and deserts made of pumpkins and pecans. It is about family, friends, remembering and football but most of all it is about gratitude. It is where we have conversations with the memories of people sitting in empty chairs and laugh when we want to cry.
We used to sing a song at church called, “Count Your Blessings” and for me, Thanksgiving is a time to do just that. “Count your blessings, name them one by one.”
I hope you keep your Thanksgiving sane and as noncommercial as possible this year. Don’t blow by Thanksgiving on your rush toward Christmas. Thanksgiving is not a car going way too slow on the highway; it is 100% awesome.
A few years ago a cruel twist of fate resulted in me not getting any turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving. The details would only bring you to tears and to make a long story short, I ended up eating a hamburger from Casey’s that had been under a heat lamp since two days after the Mayflower first made shore on Plymouth Rock.
That will never happen again, these days we go to Cracker Barrel for supper with my mom and dad just like the pilgrims.
I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And slow down…you wouldn’t want to miss it.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the author of “Love God. Love People. Don’t Do Dumb Crap.”