Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is one in which the objective is decidedly non-commercial. I understand that the greeting card industry is trying to make its way in, but for the most part, this holiday is still about family gatherings and counting blessings. Counting blessings tends to promote contentment which is counter to our cultural obsession with consummerism. Thanking God for all He has provided makes me realize how goods things are and produces a sense of satisfaction that buying things can not.
During this holiday, I reflected on my blessings joyfully. At one point during the weekend, I was mindful of my immediate circumstances. My father-in-law commented on how cold and rainy it was outside and that he was grateful that he had a nice warm, dry home and did not have to sleep outside under a bridge.
“Let’s see,” I said, “I am warm and dry, have a full stomach, just had a piece of homemade pie, and am sipping hot coffee with my family” Then I paused with gratitude and satisfaction and borrowed a phrase that our church’s preacher and my good friend, Shane Coleman says often, “We live like kings”.
Yes, we do live like kings. We have it quite good. Our needs are met and we have many other comforts and luxuries. In fact, like kings, it is arguable that some of us live in excess. I won’t speak for you, but I plan to keep this in mind as the Christmas holiday approaches. It is a holiday that has become a celebration of materialism. It seems to be a ritual for people to spend money they do not have to buy things for other people who do not need them.
I don’t need more things. I like the giving part of the tradition. It is the buying things that bothers me. That and the accumulation of more stuff. I have more than enough stuff. Here is my request to everyone who might be considering buying something for me. This year, please refrain from buying gifts for me. I’d much rather have a conversation, share a meal, share in accomplishing some work task, etc. I don’t want stuff, I’d rather have you. In fact, if I receive a purchased gift or money, I plan to donate it to a charity.
If that makes you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. I’ve been uncomfortable for many years. This year I plan to do something about it. Imagine what we could do collectively if all our consumer activity was directed to those who ARE in need.