Today I heard a friend say that "holiday" is really a code word for doing a lot more things than you would normally do.
I think she's right.
Traveling, eating, family-ing are all multiplied around the holidays...in much larger quantities than on plain old ordinary days. And the multiplication of each of those factors is the very thing that makes a holiday extraordinary.
Tonight I am blogging on location from the in-laws' house after a long, busy, blessed two days of car mileage, feasts (two, to be exact), reunions, and laughs. And I have managed to grab a few moments here upstairs to reflect, while the men of various ages are all downstairs playing video games, and the children are nestled all snug in their beds.
In the stores and the media, Thanksgiving gets kicked to the curb in a lot of ways. The day after Halloween is the day that Christmas arrives in the retail world. You'll see a few "harvest" decorations for sale, but most things turn from orange and black to red and green within 24 hours. Thanksgiving is barely a blip on their radar screens. In fact, you hear more about the day after Thanksgiving than Thanksgiving itself, which, for many, has become simply a green light for the mad rush to December 25th. Other than grocery demands, it is a holiday that doesn't have a thing to do with dollars...until it officially ends. It's not about getting, and, as admirable as giving is, it's not about that, either.
The act of thanking does not require any exchange of goods or services for money. It's an attitude of the heart. And attitudes usually don't have price tags. That's why you can't shake that irritating feeling that you're being rushed into Christmas against your will.
But even though the stores might not have much use for it, I am pleased to report, in good faith, that Thanksgiving was not overlooked today in millions of homes across the U.S.A. I am quite certain that in these cases, Thanksgiving was not kicked to the curb and ignored and treated like a second-class citizen. Instead, it was celebrated, as families like mine gathered together, bowed their heads, thanked God for his many blessings, and shared meals together.
Being thankful for what you have been given always solves that pesky problem of wanting more...and more...and more. Funny how the holiday that sometimes provokes that problem comes right on the heels of the one that reminds us to give thanks. As the Christmas season officially begins at midnight in T-minus two hours and two minutes from now, I would like to hold on to this thankfulness in my heart right now, on this Thanksgiving evening, as the antidote to all the "I-wants" (iWants?) that are sure to assault me from all directions this December.
It's really a wonderful thing that this day comes before all the madness begins.
May God bless you and your family on this Thanksgiving day.