I love Thanksgiving because, no matter what faith or beliefs you have as an American, we all stop one day and collectively give thanks to God for all the goodness He has bestowed on us.
We think about and voice our blessings. Little kids write what they're thankful for on construction paper turkeys they made by tracing their hands.
We tell our family and friends how much we love them.
We realize that, however much or little we have in the way of material possessions, we have much to give thanks for.
Americans make sure everyone gets a Thanksgiving meal: through our homeless shelters, our soup kitchens, our churches. We invite stragglers to our home to make sure they are not alone on Thanksgiving.
We bake and buy food that has meaning to us, our families, our traditions.
We reflect and laugh, get into arguments and love.
Here's where I get peeved:
Thanksgiving is being overrun by consumerism. We now plan our shopping around our Thanksgiving meal. When do the stores open? Who has the best deals? What can we buy for whom and when?
Buy. Buy. Buy. Buy.
My boss, Fr. Robert Sirico says, "The material abundance that capitalism produces does carry with it the possibility that people may begin to identify with what they possess instead of who they are."
Our national holiday of Thanksgiving is now a national holiday of consumerism. We slow down long enough to shovel in turkey and then it's off to the mall. We don't share stories of our wonderful time with family and friends on Monday; we tell our co-workers what deals we snagged.
Maybe we can't reclaim Thanksgiving. Maybe we're too fare gone. But my Thanksgiving is going to be days of being thankful to God, as intently and intensely as I can manage. Maybe you could do the same.