“Thanksgiving Day” A Devotion


“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”—Psalm 136:1

Our family gathers around the Thanksgiving table every year. The venue changes (we’re in Maine again this year) but now the menu does not. Continue reading

Advertisements

“Thanksgiving” A Daily Devotional

turkey“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”—Psalm 136:1

Our family gathers around the Thanksgiving table every year. The venue changes, but now the menu does not. Once I cooked a wild turkey our sexton had hunted. Another year I abandoned my bread stuffing for a chipotle corn bread recipe I saw in a foodie magazine. These innovations were met with the kind of murmuring that a pastor hears when she changes the words of the Doxology, and for much the same reason. Continue reading

The Christmas Tree in the Passing Lane: A Reflection on Advent

winter scene 3

On Saturday we drove home from my brother’s house in Maine where we had celebrated Thanksgiving with our family, or at least the part of it that could make it this year.

It was a calm and friendly few days. We ate some turkey and tucked into various lovely pies. There were numerous board games that lasted into the wee hours, and, yes (I won’t deny it) we watched a football game or two.

It had snowed enough during Wednesday’s storm that we were able to do some good snowshoeing on Friday at a local forest preserve. All in all, it was a good Thanksgiving.

I was especially aware that this year we had much to be thankful for. Somehow “the simple fact of being together made the time holy.” (From my Daily Devotional for Thanksgiving, to read it all go here.)

I often find the season from Thanksgiving to the New Year to be a wistful and bittersweet time. When I was a young minister I became aware what a sad time it was for many of my older congregants, who remembered happier, healthier times, when they and their families were young.

I understand that better now, as my own children are grown, and many of the original participants in my early holiday memories are gone.

The church is often wiser than we are in how it marks the time. A good example of this is the season of Advent, which captures the mood of the darkening days with its texts of waiting and hoping and its hymns in minor keys.

The expectation that the holidays will be better and brighter than our ordinary time can be a burden that weighs us down. I think some of the excessive consumerism we see this time of year is our attempt to keep the long dark days at bay. But there are some things money can’t buy, even at full price, such as health and wholeness, faith, hope and love.

On the way home the day was sunny with a high blue sky, and the traffic on the Maine Turnpike wasn’t nearly as heavy as on the way up in the storm.

As we crossed the river into New Hampshire, there was a freshly cut Christmas tree in the middle of the left-hand lane that had fallen off the roof of someone’s car. It made me suddenly sad, December sad. It must be time for Advent, I thought, and the next day it was.

Good, I thought, I need a little Advent.

 

(Photo by R. L. Floyd. “Black Brook Preserve, Windham Maine Land Trust.”)

Don’t Shop on Thanksgiving

Norman-Rockwell-Thanksgiving-thanksgiving-2927689-375-479

Last year I wrote a post called “Saving Thanksgiving from the Retailers” that got a lot of traction.  I wrote:

Thanksgiving is the only holiday that Americans of all religions can share, because it isn’t a religious holiday, although one can celebrate it as such if you choose. It is also the one holiday that many Americans gather as extended families. It is the only holiday on which I see my brother and sister and their families, along with my own children and their significant others.

But what if you have to work on Thanksgiving? More and more retailers, not content with the immense profits they make on so-called “Black Friday,” are opening on Thanksgiving. You and I can choose not to shop on Thanksgiving, but the workers in these stores won’t have that choice.

This year I decided to list which stores are open and which ones are closed on Thanksgiving to help people know which stores to support. But first I want to especially commend Costco for putting their workers and their families ahead of profits. Costco, which is the second-largest retailer in the country (after Walmart), will close on Thanksgiving. “It’s an important holiday in the U.S., and our employees work hard during the holiday season, and we believe they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving Day with their family and friends,” Richard A. Galanti, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Costco Wholesale, told The New York Times.

Here’s a list of stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving:

Costco

Home Depot

T.J. Maxx

Marshalls

Ace Hardware

Barnes & Noble

Patagonia

Dillard’s

Crate and Barrel

Neiman Marcus

GameStop

Nordstrom

Bed Bath & Beyond

Burlington Coat Factory

REI

Barnes & Noble

DSW

GameStop

Hobby Lobby

HomeGoods

Jo-Ann Fabrics

Lowe’s

Petco

PetSmart

Talbots

Sam’s Club

And here’s a list of stores that will be open on Thanksgiving and their opening times:

6 a.m.: Kmart

7 a.m.: Big Lots, Dollar General

8 a.m.: Family Dollar, RadioShack

4 p.m.: Michael’s, Old Navy

5 p.m.: Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, JC Penney, Toys R Us

6 p.m.: Belk, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Sears, Staples, Sports Authority, Target, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart

I cobbled these lists together from various on-line sources, and as far as I know, they are accurate as of today. They are, of course, subject to change and we hope consumer pressure will lead some of them to close.

Saving Thanksgiving from the Retailers

TurkeyThanksgiving is the only holiday that Americans of all religions can share, because it isn’t a religious holiday, although one can celebrate it as such if you choose. It is also the one holiday that many Americans gather as extended families. It is the only holiday on which I see my brother and sister and their families, along with my own children and their significant others.

But what if you have to work on Thanksgiving? More and more retailers, not content with the immense profits they make on so-called “Black Friday,” are opening on Thanksgiving. You and I can choose not to shop on Thanksgiving, but the workers in these stores won’t have that choice. Yesterday I received a letter from a UCC colleague in which she addressed this issue. I have asked her if I can share it on this blog, and she has given me permission:

Dear Group:

While driving down the road and listening to WBZ the other day, I heard a story from the consumer reporter. The reporter said that this year we will have a record number of retailers open on Thanksgiving…”no longer do we have Black Friday but now we will have Black Thursday.” This has just irritated me to no end. Yesterday, I asked the members of my congregation to send letters to our local retailers letting them know that Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, spend time with our families and reflect upon the goodness of life and the bounty of our earth. Thanksgiving is not a time to shop. I asked my congregation to consider all of the people who will not be able to spend time with their children and families because Macy’s, Walmart, J.C.Penney’s, Target ( just to name a few) will be requiring their workers to be on the job. Jesus calls us to be disciples and to speak up and be people of faith. Therefore, I am asking all of you to consider joining me and my congregation in writing letters to retailers to politely let them know that you will not be shopping on Thanksgiving, instead you will be giving thanks with your family and friends. Please invite them to honor this holiday by doing the same. We have lost Sundays to soccer, football, basketball  etc……let’s not simply stand by and  let Thanksgiving become another casualty.

Peace: Victoria

Rev.Victoria Snow
First Congregational Church
Sutton, Massachusetts

Victoria’s got it just right, that it will take pressure from consumers to keep us from losing this holiday to the idol of consumerism. Let’s push back.

(Photo: R.L. Floyd, who also cooked the turkey)