Forget Black Friday

Break from shopping means more thanks to God

Nov 24, 2014 by

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Each year the consumer extravaganza that is Black Friday fills the news — and bleeds more deeply into Thanksgiving.

Stores compete to be the first to open. RadioShack plans to start doing business at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and close for only a few afternoon hours.

But a growing number of corporations are refusing to turn the holiday over to commerce. Costco, Home Depot and Nordstrom are among those keeping their doors firmly shut Thanksgiving Day. A spokesperson for Costco said its employees “deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families.”

Consumers, of course, bear some responsibility for the store’s choices. People keep showing up no matter when the doors open.

If the one day meant for gratitude, family and relaxation can’t demand a break from consumption, what can? The stores willing to take a stand are a glimmer of hope that attitudes can change.

Better news yet, Money reported Black Friday “flopped” last year and may even be nearing “extinction.” And opening on Thanksgiving Day just isn’t worth it. Thanksgiving sales may “simply displace sales that would otherwise have been rung up on Black Friday or later in the season.”

For many, Thanksgiving begins the season of overindulgence. It’s OK to let loose a little, maybe gain some weight, set healthy habits aside. But, in fact, Thanksgiving’s true focus is a healthy one: gratitude. And taking a stand against the disease of consumerism is a truly healthy choice.

Research shows the health benefits of gratitude. People who give thanks daily feel better, have more energy, are better liked and more successful, found a 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Another study from 2006, published in Research and Aging, found older people in the United States who feel grateful to God suffer lessened effects of stress on their health.

The Bible often seems to be ahead of psychological studies on what it takes to live a healthier, fuller life.

“Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and the courts with praise; give thanks to God and praise his name,” says Psalm 100:4.

Gratitude is connected to generosity. The reward of generosity, Paul reminds the Corinthians, is the thanks shown to God by those who receive God-honoring kindness.

Perhaps if more people stay home on the day reserved for honoring gratitude, corporate owners will stop thinking they need to open their stores. More thanks will be given to God. And more people will experience the gratitude that improves one’s health — spiritually, emotionally and physically.


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