Tomorrow we embark into the holiday season once again. It is a crazy time of year where we have hectic schedules and try our best not to gain weight (which is next to impossible). It all kicks off with Thanksgiving. Turkey isn’t my favorite meat, but I love the food that comes with Thanksgiving. Then we follow it with Black Friday. I am very disappointed this year that companies have decided to start their sales on Thanksgiving day and ruin the chance for families to spend it together. Angela and I have saved up gift cards for a TV, and we have waited for Black Friday to buy it. I am not happy that I have had to reschedule my day because of the sales starting at 9 pm. I have considered not going at all. I will give a huge shout out to JCPenny’s because they have chosen to not open until Friday morning out of respect to families and their employees. I wish Americans would take a stand and just not go to the stores until Friday morning, but it is a prime example of what it valued in our country. Take one look at the divorce rate and you can tell it isn’t family, and Black “Friday” is just confirming that. But I’ll step off my Black Friday soapbox for the moment.
Thanksgiving is the day where everyone takes some time to think about what they are thankful for. God has actually been showing me a lot about this over the past few months. I have so much I am thankful for. A month ago I went to Israel, which the most incredible trip of my life. I have an amazing wife and she has dinner literally ready for me when I walk in the door from work (and does so many other awesome things). I will be getting a very nice TV and PS3 from all the gift cards we got for our wedding, and so many other things that I could mention. God has shown me that it isn’t just the big things I should be thankful for, but the small as well. I have a car, a cell phone, food and clothes, a loving church family, and so much more.
It’s not that I wasn’t thankful before, but I think God is showing me all of this for a different reason. So many of the things I am thankful for are because of someone else. People have blessed me. So this Thanksgiving I have a slightly different plan. Not only do I want to be thankful for all the blessings I have received, but I want to purposefully think of ways to be a blessing to someone else. In Acts 20:35 Paul says, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
When I look at Black Friday it makes me sick. I saw an internet meme the other day that said, “Black Friday: Because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” It is so true. Granted some people go shopping on Black Friday to start their Christmas shopping, but most people are rushing, pushing, fighting to get stuff for themselves. I was talking to an employee at Target last night and he told me about how they will have cops working the doors and letting people in and out of the store. We start off the holidays thinking about ourselves. This year I want to change that in myself. This Thanksgiving my goal is to give someone a reason to be thankful. Not motivated for selfish or self-righteous reasons, but just out of love. The other week Angela and I went out to eat with my mom, and for the first time we paid for it. The look on my mom’s face made it worth it even more. In Philippians 2, Paul tells us to look out for the interests of others. Paul understood that being a blessing blesses us more than we can imagine.
Tomorrow we will think about all the things we are thankful for, but as we do I challenge you to think about ways you can be a blessing to someone else. Let’s change culture and bring the holidays back to where they should be. Let’s lift up other people instead of ourselves. In doing so I believe you will see your list of things you are thankful for begin to grow even more.