Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thanksgiving. It is not my favorite holiday. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy eating, food preparation, visiting, etc. But, this holiday is an observation of the thanks for the harvest that allowed our ancestors (well some of Americans can actually claim that) to survive. What is really on the minds of many on the occasion of Thanksgiving?
Well, I can only speak from my own experience. We had one of our smaller groups this year. At the table we had 13. For dessert we had 25 people. The focus was on football and shopping. There were discussions of food, jobs, school, the economy, gas prices, technology. Except for one discussion on Confirmation, there was no mention of God, religion, faith or thankfulness. None at all.
That leads me to wonder, what are we thankful for, in our society today? Fat salaries, small families, and the toys to spend the fat salaries on. The complaints from the Thanksgiving I attended were centered on how government is sucking away too much of our money, and how the high gas prices are making many things un-affordable. Yet, as I glanced around the room, I saw my relatives all decked out in designer clothes, with blue tooth devices hanging off their ears. I saw much gold jewelry and shoes that were so ugly that they must be high fashion, on the men in attendance. There were iPods hanging off of belt loops and expensive cars parked in the driveway.
Since it was the eve of black Friday, discussions centered on what everyone would be buying, and how early they were heading out. I must admit to going out twice in my middle aged years, and both times were for a unique item that was a planned purchase, and the price was so low I was lured. Since we got rid of the television, I no longer have any idea about what is out there, and since our income is much lower than average for our family size (due to numerous children and one income as I stay at home) I rarely go into stores, unless for something specific.
Of course, there were big inquiries into what all of my children wanted for Christmas and since we have no television, they really didn’t know. They do have some commercial desires, as do any children, originating from seeing what everyone else has. They do not develop great longings for random items because they are not bombarded with product advertisements. I would be overwhelmed if my children were to respond to that holiday question of, “What do want Santa to bring you?” with “Well, we’d like you all to return to the Church and our happiness will be complete.” Admittedly that is a fantasy given the young ages of my crew, but wouldn’t it be nice.
We read (I think on Digihair’s blog) that “Ho Ho Ho” is being banned in some places because it is offensive to women. Hmmmm, what do I think about that? Well, I suppose there is a certain type of woman who might be offended, but I doubt Santa will be the one to offend her. Any self respecting, honorable, modest, well behaved, chaste woman would never even think of “Ho Ho Ho” as offensive, but perhaps the commercialism he stands for may make a few of us cringe.
At Mass on Thanksgiving morning, the priest mentioned how this is not a religious holiday but as all things come from God, we should thank Him for all of our blessings. I wish that was remembered more, even amongst those I love the best in the world, it is sometimes lacking. The priest had baskets of rolls, all wrapped up individually, with a Thanksgiving prayer inside. What a beautiful gesture on a non-religious holiday. We were all to take the blessed bread home with us to have with our dinners. I enjoyed mine with my coffee before all the fuss of the day began.
Maybe I’m getting old (though I hope not), or maybe I’m getting more sentimental (that is possible, many births, the death of my mother, etc.), or maybe I’m just starting to get my priorities right (sometimes better than others), but I prefer simplicity, low technology (note not the absence of technology, just perhaps not so much), good home cooked food, hearth and home, to just about anything else. I would love to celebrate any holiday, if it could be done without so much commercialism. Why aren’t we focused on God anymore. He must weep when he is forgotten especially on a day of thanks.