I'm Thankful and Stuff

Ah, Thanksgiving. The day of food, football, and awkward family relations. There's turkey and potatoes and getting hit in the face with a football, and wishing you hadn't eaten as much as you did. Plus, you can get Christmas shopping done on this wonderful day, because now Black Friday starts Thursday evening.

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of Thanksgiving. I don't like watching football or most of the traditional food eaten on this day. But my least favorite part of Thanksgiving is the day after.

I don't think there's anything wrong with going out and getting a great deal on Christmas gifts for the people you love. That's great. Go shop on Black Friday at whatever time you want to. That's not what I don't like. But I've noticed this thing that happens around Thanksgiving.

For about four weeks, starting November 1, everyone becomes really grateful for everything. Grateful for family, and food, and friends, and football. I'm all for gratitude. But on the Friday after Thanksgiving, all the Facebook posts and trending hashtags and pretty Instagram feeds are just gone.

I listen to Christmas music starting on Halloween (don't get me started on Halloween). I love Christmas. The decorations, and traditions, and just the way Christmas feels (plus who doesn't love the occasional cheesey Hallmark movie?) is great. I love it. A few of my friends, however, have accused me of "skipping thankfulness" because I don't wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start Christmas festivities.

But here's the thing: Christmas is about gratitude.

|| "No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends." -John 15:13 ||

I'd go so far to say that Christmas is (or at least should be) more about thankfulness than Thanksgiving. The pioneers are great. Yay America. But shouldn't our gratitude skyrocket during the Christmas season? I greatly appreciate the people who began this nation. But 1000x more than that, I appreciate and cannot express the amount of gratitude I have toward the One who gave up everything to give me life.

But, instead of Thanksgiving marking the beginning of a season of gratitude and joy, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a season of stress.

Thanksgiving should be a reminder to give thanks, not an obligation to post a long Facebook status about all the obligatory gratitude and the obligatory unhealthily big meal. Thanksgiving could be the start of gratitude, not just a day of football and the regret of overeating. Thanksgiving could remind us of the sacrifices made by those around us, and should inspire us to make those kinds of sacrifices.

I don't care if you eat a lot of food, or watch a football game with your family. Go ahead. Do those things. Have a great time. Be thankful. Be thankful today, and tomorrow, for the rest of this year. Be thankful for all you have been given, but more so for the people who have given to you. Let's make this day a reminder to be thankful all year, not just a day.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I'm thankful for you (yes you, reading this blog post when you should be spending time with family. Thank you). That's what's up.