Weeks ago we began the annual assault of holiday commercials, even as kids hadn’t finished collecting the last of their Halloween candy. As usual, the tired old talk from the conservative media started once again about a “War on Christmas” and it went to a whole new level of stupidity with the brief frenzy over Starbucks’ all red holiday disposable coffee cups.
Remember that? Before everyone was freaking out about allowing a few Syrian refugees who had been thoroughly screened into the country, the media maelstrom was over a pseudo-Christian “minister” who was urging his followers to stick it to Starbucks, by buying their coffee.
Thanksgiving was supposed to be about celebrating the generosity of Native Americans who took pity on the Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution, even though those same Pilgrims eventually repaid them by committing genocide and installing their own theocracy in the colony of Massachusetts. Our country has overlooked that part of history and turned it into a day of being grateful for our blessings, but that has been abandoned for crass consumerism and greed.
Media outlets like Fox News repeat the tired old story of a secular assault on Christmas every year, sandwiched between commercials for Target and car sales. Conservative pundits also use the occasion to go on book tours and complain about the War on Christmas while gullible followers stand in line for the chance to have the latest edition of Sarah Palin’s word salad signed by the half-term governor herself.
We’re the richest country on the planet and people say that we’re a Christian nation, but far too often, they abandon the teachings of Jesus to live simply and take care of the poor. We can’t even take one day off to be thankful for what we already have, because we are more concerned with purchasing the next hot item that will likely be discarded or go out of style long before the next holiday season rolls around.
This Thanksgiving and Black Friday, try avoiding the doorbuster sales at the big box stores like Walmart or Best Buy. Try spending the money at small local businesses instead – or donating to a charity that helps people in need.
If you need a list of charities, I have the following suggestions:
Father Nathan Monk’s Tiny House project which gives housing to the homeless in Pensacola, Florida.
Catholic Charities, a progressive Catholic organization which is currently helping settle Syrian refugees.
It Gets Better Project, a group designed to give hope to LGBT children, along with legal services and political advocacy.
These are just a few suggestions, and there is always the option of donating food to your local homeless shelter as I have chosen to do this year along with coworkers. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to spend money that you would have given to a big corporation like Walmart on helping the less fortunate?
Let’s counter the tired old story about the War on Christmas and practice “principles which every man of every faith can embrace” – to quote The Boondock Saints. Happy Thanksgiving, thanks for spending a few minutes of your day with my thoughts.
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