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The lost meaning of Thanksgiving

Giving thanks has been a tradition for centuries, but as of late, it has become overshadowed by consumerism in overdrive.

Whether it to be God or just sharing thanks for good fortunes, people have long gathered with friends and family members. Under President Abraham Lincoln, this became an official holiday. Even during the Civil War’s unprecedented state of national divide, Lincoln wanted a day to remember those good things we have.

Everything has changed over time.

Lincoln’s proclamation made Thanksgiving the final Thursday of November. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt changed the holiday to the second to last Thursday of the month in an effort to extend the Christmas shopping season. While the idea was to help bring the country out of the Great Depression, the season of buying only grew worse.

Now Thanksgiving is merely a day to share a family meal. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as family is important, the greater meaning has become lost to modern America.

When do we remember the positive things in our lives?

The next day is Black Friday, which represents a chaotic obsession with cheap deals for materialistic gain. The Christmas season begins even before Thanksgiving. The December holiday no longer represents giving or the birth of Jesus, but just straight up buying.

And the Christmas season begins in early November.

It’s almost as if Thanksgiving has become an afterthought. In early November, we begin a two month shopping showdown where we prepare to see who can outdo others the most. But even with all the big screen televisions, high tech video gaming systems and other fancy gear, we still fail to achieve greater happiness.

The high tech happiness isn’t everything in life, but it’s how we close out the year. It’s what we worry about when we should be giving thanks.

It’s almost as if Thanksgiving itself has become a lunch break during the season. It’s the seventh inning stretch of the Christmas season.

If there’s one thing our country could benefit from now is a true moment of happiness, a moment of thanks. Even if it’s just a single day among many, it helps keep our lives in perspective. Through all the war abroad, national political divide, and our own personal struggles, we still have some things counting for us. We have our families, our health, and other good fortune around us.

Be thankful for the things we have. It’s important for us to remember where we’re at, instead of wanting all the many things we don’t.

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