What do you reckon is the most commercialised holiday? The most unnecessary holiday? The most necessary holiday? The holiday that probably can make all of us open our eyes the most and take a good hard look within, as we analyse and self reflect, wondering if we can become better people than we previously were? What if I were to tell you that I think and I believe that the answer to all those aforementioned questions was the same holiday- Thanksgiving? What would you say to that? Are you as confused as I was at the beginning of the day?
Today in Australia (Friday 23rd November 2018), I arrived at work in our café at the shopping centre, and basically all I could read around me was ‘sale’. It was Black Friday, with many stores, inclusive of our direct neighbour JB Hi Fi, marking down already low prices, either for one day only, or the whole weekend, trying to drum up business, and taking advantage of the holiday that means so much more in the U.S. With Thanksgiving being a U.S. thing more-so than an Australian thing- a day where all of us can thank whomever we want to for whatever reason we want- Black Friday signified the official start of the Christmas spending season, as shoppers can race to purchase the cheapest items. Yet while I don’t really care for Black Friday, it is Thanksgiving that I want to touch upon quite a bit.
I had to do a little digging, a little research into what Thanksgiving is- and I found quite a lot of information on my trusty and reliable Wikipedia page– but basically it’s on the fourth Thursday in November every year and is a celebration linked to Americans thanking their forefathers for fighting for independence. The long and short of it is that this day is a timely reminder of the hardships Americans endured in their fight for independence, and a realisation that because we are free, we can give thanks and be thankful for all that we have. While we as people of the world (I live in Australia, but you may be from another country all together) do not really celebrate Thanksgiving- and I think that it’s because of the fact that maybe right not this holiday is a tad too commercialised, and maybe unnecessary given that our country may not have had the same magnitude of hardships as America did at the time of the first Thanksgiving holiday- it was today that the penny dropped.
That while this holiday at times could feel not even relevant at all to any of us (I mean Christmas and Easter hold more weight than this in the grand scheme of things!), Thanksgiving on it’s own without the historical meaning behind it is just as important, maybe even moreso. And I reckon that having a day where we all thank our friends, thank our family, our God, for a whole list of things- is needed, for our self-development and our spiritual growth as well. I don’t know, I’m not sure where you stand on the whole ‘continually thank those who have inspired us on a daily or weekly basis’, whether you think that’s a bit intense or not, but I think that to acknowledge that everything you have in your possession right now, be it tangible or intangible (possessions or money or strength or determination or your tenacity, your big heart, your ability to forgive, and so on and so forth) has been given to you from somewhere else (God or your family or even your genes!); is something most of us can’t do that well, and is something that each one of us should strive to really be able to say and declare and really mean.
To surrender complete control and to say ‘Ok, what I have, is not of my own, but is from my parents or my upbringing or my genes- and all this is from God anyway!’, takes guts. To thank the people in our lives that have made us who we are takes guts. And to me, thanking others shouldn’t really be limited to one day a year. I was scrolling through Twitter today and saw tons of messages from music artists saying ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ in many different ways- and while I knew they all meant it from the bottom of their hearts, there’s still a fear I have inside that this ‘only thanking our friends, family and God very overtly’ will be a yearly thing, and that’s sad, because we all deserved to be thanked, and we all need to thank others. It’s just how it is and having this day be only once a year can really damage a person. Yes, I know we shouldn’t find our worth in others’ praise and accolades, but imagined only being thanked once a year. Imagine only thanking someone once a year. I feel and believe that the world will indeed be a better place if the whole ‘thanking people’ lasted longer than a day. And how does that happen? It starts with us- treating our loved ones with respect and treated our God with respect, knowing that our life came from the dust and from Jesus. It’s a sobering thought, but once we get that- then perhaps we can live life truly free as we are grateful and thankful for all that we’ve been given, and in turn we use that gratefulness to inspire others to thank the Lord also.
I know I tend to ramble on a bit. But this issue is really close to my heart at the moment. And as I end this post, let me say that there’s a few albums that have impacted my life and will impact yours, if you take the time to listen. Thanking people and thanking God is a form of worship, so these worship albums from yesteryear are sure to encourage you to start writing your list of people to thank, and then be proactive. What are you waiting for guys? Listen to the albums, turn the volume up to eleven, and then start thanking your parents for raising you, and then God for creating you.
If I Has One Chance To Tell You Something (Rebecca St James)
Today Is The Day (Lincoln Brewster)
Strong Tower (Kutless)
The Invitation (Meredith Andrews)
The Writer’s Collection (Paul Baloche)
Beautiful News (Matt Redman)
A New Hallelujah (Michael W. Smith)
Back To The Start (Martin Smith)
Until next time guys, have a great week!