Disclaimer: I felt compelled to write this after witnessing dozens of posts on Facebook and Twitter. This is not directed at anyone in particular, rather, it’s directed at, what I believe to be, a disturbing trend.
Not planning to shop on Thanksgiving? Great.
Do you value staying home with your family more than hitting retail establishments? Fabulous.
Would you rather spend the day thankful for what you have instead of shopping for what you don’t? Sounds good.
As of today, that’s my plan, too. But, I’m begging my friends — particularly those who are believers — to spare me the self-righteous, grandiose social media posts declaring how admirable your priorities are.
Some folks don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. My family, for example, because of blended-family scheduling challenges, only celebrates on the actual holiday every other year. On the “off years” we celebrate the Sunday prior.
Some folks actually appreciate the extra wages and perks they receive in exchange for working on Thanksgiving. According to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brook Buchanan, associates are given the option to be off on Thanksgiving or work for holiday pay. They also receive 25 percent December store discounts and free hot meals during breaks.
Some folks are on extremely tight budgets, and appreciate the savings retailers are offering on Thanksgiving day.
The hysteria surrounding the issue of “to shop or not to shop” and “to open or not to open” is ridiculous. Nearly one in four shoppers responding to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation say they will shop on Thanksgiving. That’s 33 million people. Are these people less family oriented? Less American? Less Godly? Certainly not!
This discussion begs for some perspective.
It’s easy to click “like” on facebook. It’s another to stand out in the cold and pass out blankets to the homeless like the folks at Phillip’s Wish.
It doesn’t take five seconds to repost a “War on Christmas” graphic. It’s another to spend your Christmas Eve serving meals to people with HIV/AIDS like my friend Darrell Auvenshine and others do every year at the Samaritan House in Fort Worth.
It’s no big feat to tweet pro-life sentiments (as I often do), but it’s quite another to labor tirelessly in love for young women who find themselves in the midst of unplanned pregnancies as my friend Amy Ford does with her remarkable organization Embrace Grace.
It’s one thing to stand for traditional marriage by eating a chicken sandwich on Chick-fil-A day, but as my pastor pointed out, when you compare it to Mother Teresa, who ministered to broken, suffering bodies in the slums of India … it doesn’t hold much water.
Look, I’m not saying that it’s not good to stand up for what you believe in. Are you kidding? That’s essentially what I do for a living! But before you jump on a bandwagon movement, stop and consider the fact that other people’s circumstances might not mirror yours. And before you criticize others for doing something you would never do, ask yourself, “Am I doing all that I can do?”
And, believe me … no one needs to heed this advice more than yours truly.
“Don’t let the culture tell you what the church is supposed to be. Let Jesus tell you what the church is supposed to be, and then do that.” — Scott Sharman