My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Monday, November 25, 2013

What is Thanksgiving About? Thankfulness, Relationships, or Shopping?

I recently heard on the news that a number of retailers were opening on Thanksgiving Day this year. It saddened me as I thought “can’t people take one day out of the year and enjoy family friends, relax and be thankful instead of bowing down to the almighty dollar?” I thought it bad enough over the years as right after Halloween Christmas displays go up to start making money out of Christmas as if that is the meaning of Christmas! This year there were Christmas items, one aisle over from the Halloween decorations. Now the marketers for retailers are saying no to Thanksgiving and trying to turn it into another shopping day!

Thankfully there are some retailers that are keeping their doors closed so there employees can have a united day off to be with family and friends. Some of them are: Nordstrom, Dillard's, Home Depot, Costco, BJs, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross stores. They are showing a priority of allowing their employees to enjoy a day of relaxing and building relationships with the important people in their lives. What are the names of those stores that are opening? I don’t want to waste my breath on them.
This should make us think in our hearts and minds of what is Thanksgiving all about? For years Thanksgiving has been one day that most everyone could take a day off to gather with family and/or friends to enjoy a day together. As you know with my belief system there is a strong spiritual element to the day for me. Not that I believe that a person has to be spiritually minded to be thankful. Gratefulness research shows that an attitude of gratitude can be found in all people and all belief systems.

This year I would like to share some thoughts from Dr. Robert A, Emmons. He is a professor at the University of California at Davis. His research in positive psychology has been focused in on thankfulness and gratitude. I had been wanting to read his book Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier and finally this past Summer had the opportunity to read it.

One section of the book I want you to reflect on is his discussion of how spiritual thankfulness often comes out of suffering trials, and loss in the life of followers of God. He uses the pilgrims as an example. “We need look no further for exemplars of grateful living in the midst of trials than the lives of the Pilgrims. More than half of those courageous souls who crossed the Atlantic died after one year in their new home. All but three families had dug graves in the rocky soil of New England to bury a husband, wife, or child. But they knew about ancient Israel’s harvest festival: how Israel, at the end of a successful harvest, thanked God for the bounty of creation – also for delivering them from their captivity, giving them freedom as a people. And so they did the same. They understood their God to be a God who is to be thanked and praised when times are good and when times are tough. Their gratitude was not a selective , positive thinking façade, but rather a deep and steadfast trust that goodness dwells even in the face of uncertainty. Their thanksgiving was grounded in the actuality that true gratitude is a force that arises from the realities of the world, which all too often include heartbreak, sometimes overpowering heartbreak.” (Emmons. pages 116-117). It is easy to be thankful in the good times but what about the hard times? Learning gratitude during difficulties, aides in a better overall attitude rather than a bitter attitude. We live more abundantly when we live with thankfulness in all areas of our lives. That is one thing we can learn from the pilgrims as we go into our Thanksgiving Day experience.

What will happen on Thanksgiving with the stores that are opening? I would hope that people across the land will keep the priority of family, friends, thankfulness, and I cannot forget those who will be watching football; with the result, that those stores will remain empty of shoppers until the traditional midnight madness sale time. Yet knowing the Pavlovian nature of the words,”store open” to the American public, I am not holding my breath. It will be sad to watch hordes fillings the stores on Thanksgiving.

Reflection: On Thanksgiving enjoy your time with family and friends. Be thankful. If someone says to you “Let’s go shopping. I heard this store is open on Thanksgiving!” Kindly remind the person what Thanksgiving is all about.

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