Opinion > Star Staff
What Gives: We're not being thankful enough for what we have
Over here, please. Yeah, right there. That's good. Put my soap down there. Thank you.
Drum roll, please. I will now ascend my soap box. (Kinda high up here!)
Thank you, kind people, for indulging me this day. I am here because, as you know, we just concluded Halloween, and before we can finish getting the leftover candy out in the clearance barrels, we've already begun our Christmas preparations. Santa is selling Mercedes, Walmart is promising us the best Black Friday experience ever, Christmas lights are already lighting up some of the neighborhood houses, the newest and best are being stacked on the store shelves. About the only thing lacking is the mistletoe.
But, good people, we are missing something else altogether! If you bother to look at the calendar, you may notice a little designation at the top of the space that's home to the fourth Thursday in November. See it? THANKSGIVING!
Because the commerce gods determined in their finite wisdom that Thanksgiving isn't really a profitable date, it has been rapidly losing significance in just the past few years. No doubt you've noticed its conspicuous absence. It's like missing Aunt Betty's apple pie. It's too bad she died last year, but thank God Cousin Wendy kept alive the recipe. Getting together just wouldn't be the same without that dish.
Getting together for Thanksgiving is losing some of its luster, too. People don't have the same deference for what should be the most important holiday of the year. Part of the reason is what has been called the erosion of moral fiber in America. Not as many people seem to care as much for mama, God, country and Aunt Betty's apple pie, and it shows in the way families are raised in the 21st Century. The nuclear family is going the way of the Dallas Cowboys - which is to say "very quickly becoming insignificant."
Part of the reason, however, is the glossing over, sweeping under, dumbing down, lack of building up Thanksgiving. In the same vein of "If you build it they will come" there now appears to be a conscious attempt of "Just ignore it and eventually it will go away, or at least lose its significance." It's working.
M. D.s, physiologists, psychologists, nutritionists, medical professionals of all stripes are unanimous in their accord of just how important it is to a person's well-being to have a thankful nature. Those of us who are thankful live longer and live better.
Thanksgiving is also important to preserving our nation's heritage. By the grace of God, we made it when we first got here. We need to remember those roots. When we do, we remember not only where we came from, but also what we had to overcome to be who we are today. So remembering our genesis helps us to stay grounded. It lends us something the United States has been in very short supply of over the past 50 years: Humility. Thankfulness and humility are good for the soul - which adds good years to your life, say the medical gurus as was duly noted.
Thanksgiving is needed more than ever. It's good for the nation, and it's good for each of us individually. Perhaps even more important, it's a very good start to helping cure what ails this once-great country.
So this year, join me in ignoring Christmas and its shameless pursuit of materialism - until it's time! Which is about the moment we put away the serving dish that had Aunt Betty's apple pie in it, and crank up the car for the midnight madness at Wally World.
But not before we each do our part to acknowledge our appreciation of this wonderful country and our blessed lives ... by celebrating Thanksgiving.
Thank you. Thank you very much. (Will someone help me down from here now? I think I'm getting a nose bleed.)
J. David Barron is a staff columnist for Star Newspapers. Reach him at email@example.com.
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