Oct 25, 2021 08:00am
The Forgotten Holiday

Summer temperatures were still soaring outside when I noticed them — shelf after shelf of Halloween decorations in Walmart — pumpkins, scarecrows, goblins, black cats — not to mention all the candy! — and the list goes on and on. Now whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween is a subject for another day and time, but what really bothered me was that only about a third of one shelf had any decorations for Thanksgiving . . . a few pumpkins and signs with words like “thankful” and “grateful” on them, and maybe a few pilgrims and a haystack or two . . . and that was about it!

I fully expected to go to the next aisle and find Santa Claus, his reindeer and all the elves! Then a few weeks before Halloween even got here, the store was loaded with Christmas items.

I see why secular stores do that — the other two holidays are much more profitable. Halloween involves costumes, decorations, candy . . . and Christmas takes on a life of its own with gifts, gifts and more gifts. There is a lot more money to be made on those two holidays as consumers only spend money on a few more groceries at Thanksgiving.

It’s like Thanksgiving is the “forgotten holiday,” something to get through so we can “do Christmas.” Don’t get me wrong, I do understand how exciting Christmas is — it’s my favorite holiday, too. I just don’t want to skip Thanksgiving to get to it quicker! 

Yes, I can see why retailers all but skip Thanksgiving, but are we Christians not just as guilty? That I don’t understand because we have the most to be thankful for in Christ!

I’m not judging anyone else for their decorations, but I don’t decorate with ghouls, goblins and witches. My decorations are harvest-themed — fall leaves, un-carved pumpkins, etc. — until after Halloween, then I add as much Thanksgiving décor as I can find!

I have always done that because I wanted my kids to grow up knowing that Jesus is “the reason for the season” at Thanksgiving, too.

Many years ago when our kids were first married (six weeks apart!), we began a new Thanksgiving tradition. It started when I realized there were three mothers involved, and all of us were expecting our kids to be “home for the holiday.” So I prayed about it, and God gave me a plan that has worked for my family for over 25 years:

Our son, daughter and their families are free to go to their in-laws for lunch then come to our house about 6 p.m. They don’t have to bring anything, and we eat a light dinner. Thanksgiving decorations are up except for one addition — the bare Christmas tree (lights only) is set up in the sunroom.

While I put the finishing touches on the meal, they put ornaments on the tree, most of them collected through the years. After supper, we turn on the tree lights, gather in the living room, tell what we’re most thankful for, and share prayer requests.

After the prayer, my husband and I give each couple and grandchild a special Christmas ornament. (Hopefully, the grandkids will use those ornaments on their family trees some day.) After visiting for a while, the guys go home and the girls spend the night so we can go Christmas shopping to officially start the season!

That’s how we “do Thanksgiving” at our house! Why not consider coming up with your own traditions to make this “unforgotten” day in November one that truly honors our gracious Lord, as we gratefully acknowledge all that he has done for us!

However you choose to “do Thanksgiving,” I hope you and your family have a great season of giving thanks . . . followed by a wonderful and joyful Christmas where we celebrate what we are most thankful for — Jesus, who came to earth to give his life so we could live.

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