Main Page

Greed or Gratefulness

November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it was the one that was not commercialized, but focused on something important – giving thanks to God. Unfortunately, this year could signal a new turning point from gratefulness to greed.


Anne D’Innoccazio, in a news article “All Day Shopping Frenzy on Thanksgiving” (Lufkin Daily News, November 13, 2013) writes: “Black Friday shopping, the annual rite of passage on the day after Thanksgiving, continues to creep further into the holiday as more stores open their doors a day earlier…. This year more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving. Professor Beahm (Wake Forest University) says ‘The floodgates have opened.’ ‘People will turn Thanksgiving Day shopping into a tradition as they historically have on the day after Thanksgiving… And stores don’t want to be left behind.’” 


Of course the only reason stores will open on Thanksgiving is because people want to shop.  Our culture is gradually changing from family, reflection, and thankfulness to individual self -gratification, entertainment, and secularism.  On our present course, the calls of thanksgiving issued by various presidents from George Washington on will become archaic and known only to historians.


Last year I started a new tradition in our family to try to counter these cultural trends.  I put five kernels of corn on each plate before the meal started.  Five kernels of corn was the daily food ration of the original pilgrims prior to their first harvest.  Each person at the table would then express five things they were grateful for.  I learned that this was a tradition of some New England families going back to the original Thanksgiving.  I think it captures what the holiday is about. (You can look on the internet to see variations on the ways of celebrating “Five Kernels of Corn.”)


However you celebrate Thanksgiving day, I hope your family will stand its ground to not give the stores a penny, but give God plenty of thanks for His blessings.


- Stephen Parks, PhD

Instructor of Global Studies