Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Should Christians Shop on Thanksgiving Day?

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thanksDoes anyone else have a growing concern about our gradually fading Thanksgiving holiday?  Is anyone else offended that stores nationwide have already announced their Christmas shopping ads and broadcasted their earlier-than-ever Thanksgiving DAY opening times?  What was once a full day completely focused on giving thanks, relaxing, and spending time with family has now become just another day for holiday shopping.  I can only imagine this holiday will soon begin to feel like any other day as we put our selfish wants in front of the need to set aside time for rest and give thanks.

While Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday, it is still a national holiday set aside for giving thanks.  This is the most perfect opportunity for Christians to stand up for what is simply “right”.  We are commanded to give thanks daily as written in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” There is no better opportunity for Christians to be bold and claim this ONE day a year when our entire nation sets aside to give thanks in all circumstances.  I believe it is our duty to continue this worldly tradition, if nothing else just the simple opportunity to show others the importance of being thankful in all circumstances.

What would be the negative effects if Christians surrendered to the early holiday shopping hours and disregarded a day of thanks and rest?  We would be those shoppers who told the world we care more about great holiday deals than we do about spending time with family.  We would be the shoppers who took employees away from their families and made them spend the day on their feet dealing with crowds and selfish people.  We would be the Christian shoppers who missed an opportunity to be Christ in this world by simply ignoring a national holiday for giving thanks.

So what should Christians do about the early store hours and the growing desire to skip Thanksgiving and shop all day?  Is it wrong to take advantage of some good deals?  What if we are spending time with family WHILE shopping?  What’s so bad about feasting with family, taking a long nap, and hitting the stores before midnight?

This is a question that only you can answer and it needs to be based on the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  Does God really want you to honor this day by spending time with family?  Do you have a problem making time for family and need someone to make you take a day of rest?  Do you NEED this day to reflect on the past year?  How often do you truly give thanks in all circumstances?  Would Christians really make a difference if we all held tight to the tradition of setting aside just one day for Thanksgiving?

I believe the Thanksgiving holiday is a gift.  It’s a gift to our family – a paid holiday, a day we see family we may not always make time for, a day when we reflect on the previous year and give thanks to God for all things (including the happy times as well as the not-so-happy times), and a gift of just one day devoted to good food and rest.  A gift to be appreciated from our Father, as started in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above”.

Why would we not want to take advantage of this great holiday?  Why do we want to tell the world that shopping is more important than a holiday?  Would we be okay if our employers took this paid holiday away and made us take vacation days since we aren’t using the day as a time to give thanks, the very intention of the holiday?  What would Christians think if shopping hours and great holiday deals took over Christmas day?  Would we regret allowing Thanksgiving Day to slip through our fingers?

Spend time in prayer and ask God what He wants from you.  Ask Him how he wants you to spend your Thanksgiving holiday.

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Christian Focus on Thanksgiving

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The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrim settlers (originally known as Separatists) in 1621.  Of the 102 colonists who came to America for religious freedom and profitable opportunities, 58 survived the first winter season and were left with very little food for survival.  They soon became acquainted with a group of non-hostile Indians who traded crops and meat providing additional resources for their second winter season.  The coming together of the Pilgrims and Indians has since been recognized as a time of feasting and celebration as well as a time for prayer and thanksgiving.  This day of Thanksgiving continued over the years and eventually became a legal holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

What does the Bible say about celebrating Thanksgiving?  Does the Bible recognize a day of celebration with feasting, prayer, worship, and song?  Absolutely!  While Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday, Christians can celebrate the day for giving thanks just as those in the Bible.  The Israelites sang songs of thanksgiving and praise when they were delivered from Pharaoh’s army, Jesus celebrated the wedding at Cana, and David sang multiple songs of praise and thanksgiving.  Later in time, the Mosaic Law declared three times a year to set aside time for celebration, thanksgiving, and recognition of God’s provision and faithfulness.  These celebrations are known as the Feast of Passover, Harvest or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4

The Bible is full of scripture and songs of thanksgiving which affirm that thanksgiving should be a part of our daily prayers.  We need to remember the ultimate sacrifice our God made by sending His one and only Son Jesus who paid for our sins.  Without this gift, we would be nothing.  Because of this gift, we are forgiven of our sins and have eternal life with God.  “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” Corinthians 9:15.

The question remains, should Christians celebrate Thanksgiving?  Absolutely and unquestionably!  We should be celebrating Thanksgiving every day of our lives.  We should daily focus on the provisions and grace God so lovingly provides for us.  Remember to give thanks in all things, in every way, and every day.  Thanksgiving needs to be a daily habit and part of our everyday prayers, in times of praise and in the midst of trials.

……Even on Black Friday when we seem to ignore our manners, forget to extend grace to others, and become selfish for the things we purely want.

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You might also like:
1. Should Christians Shop on Thanksgiving Day?
2. Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
3. Does X-Mas Take the Christ out of Christmas?