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Examiner
  • Jeff Fox: Give thanks, cherish the day

  • Maybe we’re all guilty.


    I like to catch a movie on a civilized Sunday afternoon and maybe afterward sit down with a cup of overpriced coffee and the newspaper. I try not to work that day and try to keep that particular Biblical commandment – though I have violated it many times over the years.

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  • Maybe we’re all guilty.
    I like to catch a movie on a civilized Sunday afternoon and maybe afterward sit down with a cup of overpriced coffee and the newspaper. I try not to work that day and try to keep that particular Biblical commandment – though I have violated it many times over the years.
    But someone has to sell me a ticket, someone has to run the projector, someone has to brew the coffee for me to enjoy my quiet Sabbath afternoon in that particular way. Some people have to work, and I’m responsible for that.
    So I probably have no more standing than most of us to go on the easy rant about the steady assault on Thanksgiving, our most American of holidays, the one without the fireworks of July Fourth or the frantic rush of buying, wrapping and unwrapping at Christmas. If you’re lucky, it’s a day that brings a moment or two of quiet, a chance to reflect on all we in this blessed land have been given.
    There’s nothing wrong with Christmas presents under the tree, but we would do well to remember that the overstuffed, commercial form of Christmas that we’ve adopted is not the way it’s always been. We’ve allowed that indulgence of excess to evolve over the years, squeezing the real holiday – the religious holiday – into a smaller and smaller box.
    Those same forces march deeper into the clock and calendar every year. Many stores don’t even bother with going dark for one day – Thanksgiving – and even those that hold off until, say, midnight on Friday are still rearranging the lives, travel plans and family dinners of those who have to work, work, work so we can spend, spend, spend.
    What message would our kids reasonably infer from the way we act? That Thanksgiving is the kickoff to a month of commercial Mardi Gras that renders Christmas as Fat Tuesday? I would submit that’s not too far off. I would submit that the identities of these two holidays erode a little each year.
    Look, things change. There wasn’t always a Thanksgiving. It’s come and faded and come back again in our nation’s history, and the date has moved around a bit. But we’ve formalized it, we’ve settled on the fourth Thursday in November, and we cherish it.
    It’s become a good tradition. Let’s keep it. It’s good to take the time to reflect on what you have, rather than fretting about what you need to acquire next in all those Black Friday specials.
    We keep or lose things with our actions, so we need to be thoughtful. I understand that some restaurants will be open today because some people cannot get home to far-off family. I understand that cops, firefighters and ER nurses work on the Sabbath so we stay safe. There is room for reason.
    Page 2 of 2 - But who really needs to shop on Thanksgiving? None of us. Who would benefit from a bit of – dirty word alert – a bit of restraint? Who would benefit if the employees of all those retailers had a full day with their families? All of us.
    The choice is ours: restraint or excess.
    Jeff Fox promises his Twitter followers that he’s entertaining and informative. He’s @Jeff_Fox. Reach him at 816-350-6313 or jeff.fox@examiner.net.
     
     

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