Rev. Jim Flagg, First Methodist Humble

There is a lot of talk about the decisions of corporate America to open stores on Thanksgiving Day, instead of the “normal” Black Friday openings where only the die-hard bargain hunters and those find a deal thrill seekers flock to. There’s a lot of hoopla, everything from “it is disrespectful to the spirit of the holiday,” to “it is just another day.”

I can see both points of view. As a nation it’s the only day all year we purposely set aside to observe thankfulness and gratitude for all we have as a country and in our private lives as well. The flip side of the coin is many companies are fighting for their very survival. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in business and, with the decline of brick-and-mortar stores and the massive internet shopping movement, many merchants try to squeeze as many shopping days in as possible.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving. For me it is filled with memories of family gathered, prayers of thanks lifted and specific foods eaten. As a child surrounded by loving family and extra tables set up at my grandmother’s home to accommodate us all, it does not stray too far from the classic Norman Rockwell paintings. As I grew older, of course, I witnessed stresses and cracks in relationships and, as time progressed, the table began to have new faces which occupied chairs once filled by others as people died, babies were born, family moved or marriages dissolved. But one constant, for those who gathered, was a timely and purposeful giving thanks … an attitude of gratitude.

I have come to realize that gratitude is and should be a constant rhythm of our lives. Which makes me wonder, is the fourth Thursday in November the only day all year we can be thankful? What about the other 364 opportunities we have each year? Or what about the 52 designated times God tells us to set aside and remember the sabbath, the time each week we get together to renew and refresh our relationship with and worship the Lord. The Christian Bible says this: “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:22-25, MSG)

This means all through the year, all through our life, cultivating thankfulness! And why not? Why not be more thankful? Whether you are a Christian or not, every major religion on earth says we should be grateful and give thanks. So, we should be thankful for the opportunity to do so in this country which has so many blessings and opportunities! In less than two weeks we celebrate thanksgiving as a nation, but what do you say we make a choice to celebrate it every day? God’s amazing blessing will be waiting for us each and every day that we do!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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