Thanksgiving is generally the kickoff to the Christmas and the Holiday season. Ever since I was little, it always seemed to be so.
We prepare the meal. We eat the meal. We clean up after the meal. We catch a football game or two.
I think Thanksgiving needs to be bigger than that. Thanksgiving needs to be bigger than a drumstick and some pumpkin pie and pigskin.
And then after the meal, there is the late Thursday night shopping, followed by Black Friday shopping and weekend shopping, followed by Cyber Monday shopping. This year, I noticed that as soon as Halloween was over, stores ripped down their displays and raised up the Christmas and Holiday displays. It seemed as if Thanksgiving was hastily ushered off and thrown into the closet until it is pulled out for a quick salute for a day or two the next year.
Hardly seems fair that Thanksgiving was treated with such little respect.
Still, I do love the season of Advent. And I do love what the Christmas season represents. I just wish Thanksgiving was given its true and rightful place in our lives and in our hearts.
At times I think that Advent should be before Thanksgiving. I mean, shouldn’t we prepare, make ready and make room, and then give thanks? For example, doesn’t food taste better when one is hungry, when one is less full, and when one is prepared for it?
I think we’ve somehow lost the meaning of Advent.
Yes, we decorate the house. We make the holiday breads and cookies. We chop down a tree, throw lights on it, and place a meaningful ornament or two or twenty on it. We draw names for gift giving. We make lists and shop and wrap and tie everything up with a nice shiny bow.
Yet, like Thanksgiving, Advent is bigger than that.
But I’ve always been drawn to Advent as being bigger than that. It is about preparing our hearts. It’s about taking stock of our lives. It’s about the preparation for what needs to be done, what needs to be repaired, and what needs to be rethought.
Advent is about looking at our relationships- the relationship we have with ourselves as well as the relationship we have with others.
And like Thanksgiving, we’ve treated, and treat, Advent with very little respect.
Advent has to be more important, more significant than twinkling lights and tinsel. Advent has to be more important than the pile of boxes and bows. At some point, we need to rediscover the meaning behind Thanksgiving and about Advent. We need to give those two holidays, and ourselves, more respect than we show them, us.
We rush about frantically trying to ‘get it all done’ before we collapse in a heap. We worry about what we need to do, what needs to get done, when truly, really, what we’re worrying about and what we think is so important, really isn’t all that much to worry about, and it is really fairly unimportant and trivial.
There are relationships. There are memories to build and nurture and grow. There are smiles and laughter to behold and express. There is time that needs to be spent with and on those whom we love. And, we need to do this way before it is too late, before there is no time, and before time passes and is no longer. So much more important. Something to think about . . .