Let's Not Forget About Thanksgiving Season

Our national day of gratitude should be more than just a kickoff to the Christmas season.

When I hear Christmas Carols play the day after Halloween I always roll my eyes. From the moment Halloween ends we are thrust into the Christmas season. We go from “Trick or treat” to “Seasons Greetings” in the blink of an eye.

Wasting no time at all, retail giants in our land roll out their Christmas inventory, and with good reason. Americans spend more than $400 Billion every year on Christmas. As the logic goes, the more time we have to spend money, the more money we will spend.

Dining establishments hang Christmas lights and decorations, and Starbucks has already served coffee to millions of customers in disposable, Christmas-themed red coffee cups. Mind you, this is just the start of Christmas season.

Over the next two months Americans will attempt to keep up with the madness of the Christmas season. Parties. Traveling. Shopping. Decorating. When all is said and done, we’ll just be happy to have survived another Christmas season. We’ll be left to look for Jesus under the trash of tinsel, light and empty eggnog cartons.

Over the next two months Americans will attempt to keep up with the madness of the Christmas season.

The only speed bump in the mad dash toward Christmas Day is Thanksgiving—the forgotten holiday. For many, the last Thursday in November is a quick breather in the middle of an insanely busy season. It’s just a pit stop before the annual greed stampede we call “Black Friday,” which now begins on Thursday night. Before turkey, stuffing and gravy settle in our stomach, we are running down the aisles of our national megastores to get a deal on one more thing we really don’t need.

Our passion for Christmas has caused us to ignore Thanksgiving. The real tragedy, however, is that we have lost the meaning behind the holiday. Thanksgiving is now more synonymous with gluttony than gratitude. The night before Thanksgiving is the biggest night of the year for bars across our country.

But we don’t stop there.

We binge on beer on Wednesday, and binge on food on Thursday. We stuff ourselves, loosen our belts to make room for our bloated stomachs, and sit in front of the television watching football, just before we fall into a food coma. We eventually wake up to make a Turkey sandwich from the leftovers.

Our ability to overlook Thanksgiving and rush toward Christmas may be more than just “the way it is” in our country. It’s seems to be a symptom of a condition we live with everyday. We have an insatiable lust for more, which exposes our thanklessness for what we already have.

I can honestly say I do not know many who could be characterized by gratitude—and I include myself in that. Our closets overflow with clothes, our refrigerators brim with food and our bank accounts have money sitting around gaining interest; even still, the words, “thank you” are often not heard. We have collectively come to the place where we believe having excess is normal.

Even worse are the moments when we fool ourselves into believing we’ve earned what we have, so we deserve what we have. Beyond this, what we have is rarely enough. How easily we forget that every gift we have comes from our generous, heavenly Father. We experience these gifts every day, rarely taking a moment to say, “Thank you.”

We skip over a holiday focused on thankfulness, and focus on a holiday that has become an unfortunate expression of wanting more.

It’s no wonder we skip over a holiday focused on thankfulness, and focus on a holiday that has become an unfortunate expression of wanting more. It’s how we live every day.

It’s time we work together to change this, and it ought to begin with us.

This doesn’t mean we have to wait to play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. What it does mean is that we would do well to spend the time between now and Thanksgiving focused on gratitude for all we’ve been given.

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If we can do this, we just might find we will want less come Christmas day. This is the gift of gratitude. When we take a moment to say “thank you,” we are finally able to see all we have been given. This will allow us to enter the Christmas season with a grateful heart rather than an expectation of getting more.

One small step we can take together for the next few weeks until Thanksgiving is to spend time each day saying “thank you,” to our Father in heaven. Every day until Thanksgiving I will Tweet what I am grateful for using the simple hashtag #ThanksBeforeChristmas. I invite you to do the same so we can share in one another’s thankfulness. This is just a small way we can refocus and remember all we have been given and express proper gratitude to the God who has given it to us.

And once we have thanked God for all He’s given us, we can continue by celebrating Christmas, thanking God for sending His son to earth for us.


Paul C


Paul C commented…

Why not celebrate Thanksgiving before halloween like we do in Canada? We celebrated it on October 14th this year. Nobody is thinking about Christmas yet.. On thanksgiving my family likes to go around the table and tell the Lord what things we are most thankful for this year.

Amy Young


Amy Young commented…

Michael, I believe that part of the reason we miss the richness of this season is in Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation: So constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget




Anna commented…

Also, we should not neglect the pain, and the blood that was shed on Thanksgiving. We Americans tend to think that it was this great and amazing time, but in actuality it has a very gruesome history that needs to be remembered.

Steve Cornell


Steve Cornell commented…

Ah, yes, Jude warned of grumblers and fault finders (Jude 16). God calls us not just to give thanks but to be extravagantly grateful! I am convicted when I think that a moderately grateful person is not doing life in the will of God.

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ” (I Thessalonians 5:18). Spirit-filled people are “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

When it's hard to give thanks, I think of some good advice from C. S. Lewis, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is ‘good,’ because it is good, if ‘bad’ because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country” (C. S. Lewis). (http://thinkpoint.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/saying-thanks-focus.mp3)

Michelle Young


Michelle Young commented…

So good! I firmly believe that thankfulness is something we should carry with us throughout the year. This year, I had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving day with an Uber drive (similar to a cab service) and some precious souls on the streets of Hollywood. Would not have changed it for anything.

"...if we are limited to one day per year of talking about “thankfulness”, I think we have missed something big."

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