Have you ever wondered what happened to Thanksgiving? How did it become just another speed bump on the way to the real holiday season? Do you remember when you were little and Thanksgiving came to town? What a wonderful spectacle it was! Not so much these days. Now that one of the nastiest Halloweens on record (weather-wise) is in our rearview mirror, we can officially look forward to the holidays and Thanksgiving in particular.
I can remember when Turkey Day used to be a big deal. Preparations at our house would go on for weeks. Mom and Dad worked tirelessly to get the house ready for company, and a gut-busting Thanksgiving dinner. School windows would be adorned with little handprint turkeys, plus pictures of Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. That’s about as politically incorrect as you can get these days.
However, I prefer to think of Thanksgiving as it pertains to our two greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln. Both made Thanksgiving Day Proclamations that encouraged Americans to give thanks and praise to God for all of His gifts. Another politically incorrect sentiment these days.
Our family’s routine is pretty structured when it comes to Thanksgiving day. I pick up a Black Friday newspaper from 7-11, then we settle in with a cup of coffee and hot chocolate to scope out the best deals for our Christmas shopping. Around 9 am, we turn on WDIV to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and listen to the cheesy commentary from the play-by-play commentators.
Post-parade, there’s a half-hour window before the Lions game. We use the time to prep the turkey and pop it into the oven. Then, I do my best to stay out of my wife’s way, while remaining nearby, in case I’m needed for a last-minute run to Kroger. Our sons hunker down in the living room or basement, trying to stay out of the way as well.
Over the years, Thanksgiving has gotten a reputation for family squabbles. Because of the politically-charged world we live in, the dinner table is hardly a safe space. Plus, in an effort to force people to be thankful, many families have started the, “What I’m thankful for this year” tradition. This has always seemed too contrived and phony for me.
How about taking a moment before the big day and think about reasons to be thankful for your family and friends? Then during holiday conversations go through your mental checklist and sprinkle in your thanks. This will probably be accepted as genuine gratitude, and not just drummed up thankfulness. Who knows? Maybe it will catch on. After all, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, Charlie Brown.
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