Yesterday I thought I should pick up some Halloween candy in preparation for the annual onslaught of costumed kids who will be ringing my door bell just two days from now. Stores have been full of both costumes and candy for weeks if not months now and my neighborhood has many homes adorned with all kinds of spooky Halloween decor, some so elaborate as to rival even Christmas decorations.
However, imagine my surprise when as I shopped for Halloween candy, there next to it I found Christmas Oreos! Yes, already on the shelf, Christmas Oreos, with the red cream filling replacing the original white filling and the words “JOY” on the package. Well, I have to admit, Oreos are always a joy, any time of year and it was a joy to find them there and know that at the moment Oreos are not being impacted by supply chain shortages. Perhaps having Oreos in stock softens the blow of not having cars available for purchase due to computer chip supply issues?
Nevertheless, seeing Christmas cookies already on the store shelf shook me up a little. I mean I feel like I am always a bit behind and therefore playing catch up all the time (after all I am just now getting Halloween candy) but there are still two holidays to go before Christmas and seeing these seasonal Oreos made me feel undue pressure to prepare for a holiday that is still two months away.
This also made me think, what about Thanksgiving? I call it “the forgotten holiday.” Even so, Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of mine. Sure, there are no gifts to buy, no cards to send, no decorations necessary to speak of, so not a lot of marketing/money making potential compared to more commercial holidays – but still – Thanksgiving is such a great holiday, it deserves better. I mean, what’s not to like? Food, family, football, faith – these things sum up the day that is Thanksgiving. This holiday started as a day to be grateful to God for all our blessings – a day to actually count all the ways in which we are recipients of God’s grace and give Him thanks.
Consider George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1879. In it he stated, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and whereas both houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
And so it began – Thanksgiving – officially (on paper) a day of public thanks and prayer to God for His provision and protection. Today do we have the outward form of what was, without the inward filling of the true acknowledgement of God as the source of all things good, thus leaving an empty shell where once a rich reality existed? When did we give that up? When did we become so easily satisfied with empty observances, separated from their true origins and so robbed of their power to remind us, to reconnect us and to reinspire us – to a resolve that the God upon whom this nation was founded shall not now be cast aside but rather shall be again acknowledge as the One “from whom all blessings flow.”
Thanksgiving – a holiday to remember and to give thanks to God. May it not become the forgotten holiday. We desperately need to remember.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. . . . Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. . . . He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. . . . He sent forth His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.” (Psalm 107:1-22)
let us not forget this holiday, falling between Halloween and Christmas – Thanksgiving Day reminds us to be thankful and to give thanks to our Creator, Sustainer –
sincerely, Grace Day