I love Thanksgiving. Even over Christmas. Always have. I just love the spirit of thanksgiving. Reflecting. Being still. The presence of family. Over-eating food you eat only once a year. :) I guess when it comes down to it, in contrast to Christmas, the focus is different. Its not on gifts, or what we think we need. But on what we already have; this year’s provision. The richness of blessing.
And yet…Instead of the 4am openings like years past, or even the recent years’ midnight openings, stores like Wal-Mart opened at 10pm, and some even 9pm this year!! ON THANKSGIVING!! We aren’t even taking the time to enjoy the DAY and our meal before people are in lines to SHOP!!
This part of our culture, the gluttony and greed, I am ashamed of. I heard news stories broadcasting the lines, the traffic, the outrageous number of shoppers, the overzealous/ greedy shoppers over-stepping others… and I am saddened by the contrasting worlds that I live between. It wasn’t that long ago that I witnessed hundreds of people overcrowding, and pushing their way, not for THINGS, but for health care. BASIC medical care… For a surgery that will change their child’s life. For a surgery that will make their crooked legs straight so they can walk normal. That will allow them to be accepted by their society, or for the hernia repair so they can work again to provide for their family. So they can finally go to school. Or the children will then stop ridiculing. And the stares will end. To make the blind man see. There are hundreds upon hundreds more…
I saw a desperation in so many that I will never forget. A desperation that led to a gate being pushed down and many trampled on. One died because of it. Out of fear. Out of utter desperation.
And I see the lines of “desperate” shoppers on Black Friday and the crowds in the mall. One even pepper-sprayed her way through! And I am struck by the contrast. Perhaps by the lack of awareness. Many of these people are unaware of what they innately have just by living in America. They take so much for granted. We can see a doctor when we are sick. And there are services available for those in need (even our homeless have these resources)… I’m not saying that we should feel guilty shopping. Not at all. Christmas should be about joyous giving. But we should know the difference between real necessity and overindulgence.
I wish for my country, awareness. Awareness beyond self. And then I wish for her, gratitude. A gratitude that is such, that on the one day that is set aside for a day of thanks, her people will choose not to rush to be the first in line for that must-have item, but rather be a people quick to give thanks.