Last night I had the opportunity to speak at our local Ministerial Alliance gathering. Two other preachers and I shared the speaking responsibilities for the night. Each of us had a different view on thanksgiving. The Assembly of God pastor spoke about thanksgiving in our prayers. The Baptist preacher addressed the topic of giving thanks with our praise. I spoke on having thanksgiving in the words we use every day.
In the introduction, I spoke about how Wal-Mart has little stuff for Thanksgiving besides frozen turkeys and at the same time has aisles and aisles of Christmas items. This has always bothered me and one night I went to bed thinking about it. Somewhere in the darkness, I woke up with one clear thought. Commercializing Thanksgiving is difficult.
Through the years Christmas has been manipulated into a cash making machine. The idea of giving gifts is terrific, but it has been twisted with the addition of trees and decorations. Then there is the heavy-handed guilt you feel to purchase something for everyone you know. Gift giving can be turned into a commercial industry that makes big profits.
You can’t do that with thanksgiving. Truly giving thanks is an attitude that is connected to the joy we already feel for what we have received. If you are thanking God with your prayers and praise or telling someone how you appreciate them, you will find it hard to make a profit off that. Maybe you could talk a few people into buying a card, but that is about it.
Thanksgiving is a time to express your gratitude without strings attached. For you to acknowledge everything that God and his people mean to you is a precious moment that requires no added frills. This week it will not cost you a penny to spend a few minutes saying thanks. You don’t need any special decorations or wrapping paper and bows. All you need is a heart that is overflowing with the joy of the Lord. It may not sell to well, but it will affect the heart of both the receiver and the giver.