Thanksgiving Weekend: A Snapshot of Competition for our Souls

Observing the back-to-back events of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday makes my head spin.  In a dizzying instant, we flip the switch from giving thanks for what we have to the scramble to get some more.

What does that say about our culture? 

What does it say about the allegiances of our souls?

While our turkeys were still warm, retailers opened their doors in hopes of having them busted down.  (By the way, when did the term “doorbuster” become ubiquitous?  Surely there are highly paid advertisers who can come up with other creative terms for a big sale.  Or maybe not.)

Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition for many families.   Wonderful.  If you enjoy it, go for it!  But there seems to be ever-increasing emphasis on the amount of money changing hands on Black Friday while treating Thursday’s Thanksgiving as little more than the starting line for door-busting shopping.

Thanksgiving weekend is an illuminating snapshot of competition between our spiritual roots and the super-sized canopy of commercialism that has grown from them in our rich American soil. 

Even allowing that our roots were probably not as “Christian” as we might imagine, it is undeniable that the United States has a long and strong history of faith.  In earlier times, families gave sincere thanks to God because they recognized their dependence on Him.  There was no other safety net.  Today, however, many Americans depend on their jobs, a strong economy, investments, or the government, and it’s simply not as obvious from whom their blessings come.

Consumerism is like a revolving door gaining momentum as it slides God out of our souls while simultaneously ushering in the idol of the almighty dollar.

Cultural pressure to seek material gratification and economic prosperity leads many Americans to bust through doors that lead nowhere.  Fewer will open the doors of their hearts to the gentle knock of the One who offers genuine security and satisfaction, now and forever.

We each answer to one desire or the other; it is impossible to serve both.

To whom, or to what, have you given your soul?

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

12 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Weekend: A Snapshot of Competition for our Souls

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  1. I’m not a shopper and can only remember one time when I went out shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was in Detroit. If I remember correctly, I had a good time and enjoyed a great meal in downtown Detroit, across from the main Hudson’s store. Oh yes! This happened before most of you were born.

    1. When I was young my family often spent Thanksgiving weekend with my cousins in Ohio. It was their practice to spend Friday at the mall. Those were the only times that I ventured out to shop “black Friday” (if it was called by that name back then:). Thanks Larry! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  2. This is a great post, Judy–you always do an excellent job of making an inescapable point, without sounding judgmental/dogmatic. I’m glad I cannot afford to participate in the head-spinning post-Thanksgiving consumerism–I’m convinced people become temporarily insane during this time (though, I should hope it would never stand up in court as a viable defense). Strong as my feelings/opinions are–and I don’t lean toward the wishy-washy–I am not so arrogant to think that, were I suddenly financially rich (the Publishers Clearing House junk mail finally paid off), I might not join in with some of this shopping fever. After all, long ago I engaged in regular retail therapy–and it led more or less straight to bankruptcy. But “crazy shopping” undeniably moves us away from God–even if we think we’re “buying to bless” others. The truth pinches–but not as hard as DEBT. God bless you abundantly as we cruise through the season that was meant to be All About HIM–love, sis Caddo

    1. It does get a little crazy, doesn’t it? Like you, I realize that I’m just as easily enticed to materialism as the next person given the opportunity. Yes, Caddo, may we enjoy this season appropriately focused on the One we adore! Love back to you, sis!

  3. The commercialism of Christ’s birth irritates me more and more each year. I once worked in upper management for a retailer and I hated the ‘Blitz” day after thanksgiving. I can not tell you how many times I feared for my life as shoppers plunged through the door as I unlocked it. There is nothing on this earth other than my children or grandchildren’s lives would I get out in that mess and particpate in it.
    Thank you for sharing this post it should be read by many..reblo

    1. Wow. I stay out of the “doorbusting,” and the photos along with your experience confirm my choice! Thanks for visiting and for adding your thoughts! Peace to you and yours.

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