Thanxgiving later next week remains the last of America’s truly “family holidays.” There was a time when almost all holidays were family times, oriented around a dad, mom and progeny that were born to them; perhaps some extensions with uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents if one was fortunate enough to meet the octogenarians of previous generations. As a child, if a family did not have their groceries and details in order for any holiday, from New Years Day to Independence Day to Christmas, you could anticipate sitting at home for the day with nothing to do or eat!
Like the last gasps of a dying patient before he leaves the world of the living, Turkey Day is getting a small reprieve from the incessant march of materialism and identity politics that are trampling the “old world” underfoot. Many stores are closing this Thanxgiving, more than in previous years.
Walmarts, even though started by a man who claimed to be a Christian, have been open on TG Day since the 1980s, but like many retailers, closed for the holiday during covid’s run in 2020 and ’21. Now, they and others like Target have decided to keep the fourth Thursday of November as a true holiday with closed stores.
Yahoo News reports that stores closed for Thanksgiving 2022 will include Aldi’s, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, HomeGoods, Penney’s, Kohl’s, Marshalls, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target and Walmart. Even the entire Fayette Mall will be closed! And Lowe’s and Home Depot have always been closed on TG Day since their founding, so no surprises there… yet. Only a handful of national chains like 7-11 or drug stores plan to open this Thanksgiving.
But do not let this small respite this year deceive you. The retailers are boasting all kinds of “Black Friday” deals and special times of openings on the day after. And I suspect it will only be a matter of a few years before they start competing again for Thanxgiving Day dollars, opening earlier and earlier until it will seem as ludicrous to be closed on Thanxgiving as Kohl’s found it when they started opening in Lexington at midnight as Thursday turned into Friday. Now the stores all offer “Black Friday Deals” starting the week before Thanxgiving!
Add to that the constant slowing of the beep-beep of the nation’s heart-monitor as the family becomes more distant and dissected by unmarried young people who, though living together, are divorced from real family relationships that call for commitment and tenacity to maintain the vitality of a tribal identity. And many people are actually getting tired of the battles for in-person best deals on Black Friday as online shopping has taken off so well over the past two years.
It may seem bleak to those of us who remember gathering with family for all of the holidays past: Christmas at Grandpa’s farm in Paradise, Kansas; New Year’s Eve at a “watchnight” service in a local church that would find people at the altar praying instead of counting down the ball-drop with Dick Clark on TV; President’s Day that combined Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays into one day in February; St. Patrick’s Day parades downtown; Easter with pageantry of the Crucifixion and Resurrection played out by Sunday School teachers dressed in bath robes; Memorial Day when we would decorate the graves of deceased family members; Independence Day with parades and fireworks; the long eventless summer with only family and sometimes a week at camp. Then the fall would kick off a new season with Veteran’s Day parades and honors for our war dead as we went back to school; Halloween would push us into “THE holidays” with Christmas decorations still in storage until after Thanxgiving Day.
And every one of these “holy-days” were spent with family, whether at a graveside or cheering a high school band in a parade; whether at a church meeting or dressed in Dad’s overalls and washable dots for whiskers for a costume.
We were always together as a family.
But those days are gone, and likely not coming back. These are not just the musings of a man reaching old age. It is an observation of the desert of relationships to which society is inexorably moving, and of the times in which we live.
History is reaching a tipping point from which there is no return. We will not be like gods, the way many are expecting. From TED talks to Disney productions, mankind has drunk from the devil’s kool-aid, and Father in Heaven is getting ready to say, “That is quite enough of that.” The devil’s lie is still what it was in the Garden of Eden: “YOU can be like GOD!” (Genesis 3:5)
Whether it is age-defying creams for sale at Walgreen’s, diets to prolong life in Men’s Health or movies that portray survivors of cataclysms (Greenland), humans still want to believe they are limitless.
History is not repeating itself (though it does rhyme); i.e., no century on earth has ever seen the technological and global developments we are witnessing. At no time in our past have we every reached the 8,000,000,000th person, which ethnographers believe we attained on November 15. Before our time, no one even expected this until Robert Frolich wrote The P-Bomb in 1968, which proved to be a farsical over-simplification of human resourcefulness.
All indications point to a mark in history soon to occur: the return of Jesus, called the Christ, at which time the Last Age of the Earth will begin. This is not the fantasy of Hollywood movies, but the trajectory of God’s timeline revealed in the Bible, where not a single prophecy has ever been demonstrated to not occur. The only ones left to be fulfilled are those that refer to this final chapter of this world’s story. So gather with your family this Thanxgiving and thank The God Who Is for revealing His love, holiness, grace and truth in Jesus, and for promising to come back and take those who have put their faith in Him to be with Him forever.
If you do not know Jesus, please, please, please, consider praying to Him to invite Him into your life today. Contact me if you want to know more or to find out how this will radically affect your life, relationships and future . . . while there is still time.
Maranatha, even so, come Lord Jesus.