Mary Jo Brown: Thanksgiving meaning
November 23, 2014
Christmas is getting closer, and the signs are spreading in various forms. The hype of Christmas overshadows Thanksgiving, making it almost an afterthought. In reality, Thanksgiving should be every bit as special a day as Christmas and celebrated in its own special way. This should be a day with family and friends, a day to enjoy a good meal and especially a day to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Although the day mostly centers around the huge meal associated with the mention of Thanksgiving and the football games that follow, the commercialism of Christmas has encroached upon even this day with Black Friday sales that start shortly after the family has finished eating. Whether you choose to participate in this or not is strictly a personal choice, but I find it sad that some of the special meaning of Thanksgiving has been taken away in such a materialistic manner.
Another sign of Christmas approaching are various programs centered around the upcoming holiday. I enjoy watching the Hallmark Christmas stories in the evening. Even though some shows are reruns, they're all are about Christmas or the spirit of Christmas. It's something different to watch that doesn't contain violence, cussing or bloodshed, and they usually have some type of moral to them. The stories deal with sharing, forgiveness, trust, belief in Santa and goodness, which makes for a feeling of good will. It really is too bad that those feelings don't last long, in some cases not even until after Christmas. There are too many distractions in our busy world that take us back to the way it was before we found that "Christmas spirit," and old habits are hard to break.
One of the downsides of these stories is they give the impression of what a "perfect" Christmas should be, or an ideal of how we should be. Unfortunately, very few of us can achieve that type of perfection, although some try, which only adds stress to what can be an already stressful time. The keeping of family traditions and doing what feels right for us is what really matters. This time of year should resemble parts of those Christmas stories, parts that include sharing, giving, faith and belief in miracles, not those from Santa but from God and the spirit of love and caring. The real reason for Christmas does not contain stress, hustle and bustle. It's about peace and hope. Just as the celebration of Thanksgiving is about the very meaning of the word itself, the giving of thanks for all the Lord has blessed us with; our families, friends, health, home and country. I think of how much worse my life could be if not for those blessings. Even though my health is not the best and my memory is getting a little on the iffy side, I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboard. Enjoy this special time of year and count your many blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.
Happy birthday wishes go out to Jeff Southard and Mary Jane Lindley.