Larry Buford

The American Thanksgiving holiday is sandwiched between our two highest-grossing commercial holidays – Halloween being second, and Christmas first. This year in America alone Halloween spending was expected to reach almost seven billion dollars, all for candy, costumes, and parties. I guess that’s the only reason why we continue to set aside a day to masquerade, eat junk food, and party, when in fact, that’s what most of us do all year around anyway. But that’s another story.

Christmas,on the other hand, is a day known for giving with the expectation that something will be given in return to the degree that someone had to remind us to “keep Christ in Christmas.” The saying, “It’s better to give than to receive” seems to go out the window when it comes to Christmas. People get indignant thinking: “You mean to tell me I got you a gift (or card), and you did not get me one? How unthoughtful…the thanks I get!” What’s the point? If that’s the spirit, why don’t we all just keep our gifts to ourselves and keep the score even?

These days it seems that Thanksgiving has more Christ in it than Christmas. Turkeys aside, it’s a time of reflection without the pressures of commercial shopping. Can you imagine someone saying, “If I give you a turkey, will you give me one?” No, that’s not the spirit. This is the time when families come together at least once a year to gather around a common table to give thanks not for the turkey – we can get that anytime – but for showers of blessings from heaven. Where the tradition of the turkey may bring us together, God’s love keeps us together. We give thanks to God and show our gratefulness when we show love towards one another. When we look around the table this year and see loved ones we thought we’d never see again; seniors who may not be here much longer; and the little ones, we should give thanks. When we consider the times where there is so much to be concerned about, and yet we’re all under the same roof comforted by one another’s presence – even the spirit of loved ones no longer here – we should give thanks. This is the season when we can truly give of ourselves if at no other time, assured without obligation that giving is the thanks.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub) Available at Smiley’s Bookstore in Carson CA, and Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara CA. Visit the author at (213) 220-8101