It seems to me every year the stores start getting ready for the Christmas rush earlier and earlier. First the sales got earlier... 6 am, then 5 am, then 4... and suddenly Black Friday got a kickoff on Thanksgiving Day. We've heard the "Christmas in July" slogan for a lot of years, but I think retailers are secretly hoping it will catch on. I mean, is it just me, or are the stores having really big sales before Black Friday this year, trying to jump start everyone into beginning the spending frenzy? Our armed forces couldn't even get their annual day of recognition without a flurry of Veteran's Day sales turning it into a goldmine for retailers.
All this to say I'm as guilty as anyone of getting caught up in the focus of the Christmas holidays and not giving Thanksgiving its proper due. (Although with all the snow and frigid temperatures we've had lately, it's not surprising!) Certainly I'll be celebrating with my family this Thursday, but I've been so focused on promoting the upcoming Christmas shows the band has scheduled that I sorta swung right into the Christmas hubbub and never took the time to celebrate this season with you all. So I'm hoping to rectify that in some small way by sharing the following perspective I've recently acquired. Very recently. Like... 15 minutes ago recently.
Giving Thanks. That's supposed to be the focus of Thanksgiving, right? I mean, the whole stuff-yourself-on-turkey-til-you-can't-move phenomenon is our way of celebrating the bounty we have to be thankful for. Or maybe donating time or money to organizations that feed the poor and homeless expresses our thanks for the abundance we have.
But do we take the time to really be thankful for everything in our lives? No, that wasn't a typo. I did say everything.
Sometimes (ok, a lot of times!) I get tied up in knots over the unpleasant things in life and forget how many blessings I truly have. This last year was especially challenging with the passing of Brother Ray - a man I loved and respected very much. So as I sat here in the early morning contemplating my schedule of this week's Thanksgiving Day preparations, I got that familiar ache in my heart when I looked back over the past year and realized what we've all lost. But wait, my story here has a happy ending!
In that moment of sadness, I suddenly realized that I can "give thanks in all things"! What needed to change was not my circumstances, but my perspective. Instead of trying to give thanks for what I lost when Ray left us, I can give thanks for what I gained. It suddenly occurred to me that I wouldn't trade a moment of the joy of knowing Ray (and John, Vicky, and the rest of the Delaney clan) in order to avoid the sadness the empty spot his leaving has caused. So instead, I will give thanks with a grateful heart that I was blessed to be one of the people whose life was forever altered by knowing this truly remarkable man. My desire is that I will be able to apply this lesson I've learned to other events in my life, and learn to live my life in an attitude of gratitude.
I hope that I haven't bored you with my rambling, and that you too will find many things to be grateful for this holiday season. Blessings on you all!
aka "Nick's Mom"