Franksgiving

People are mad!  They’re picking sides.  Now, arguing and fighting are nothing new during the holidays –  just sit around the table of the average American family on Thanksgiving, or reach for the last specially marked item on the shelf on Black Friday.  But this fight is a bit unique.

The fight is not over what to buy but when to buy. Yep. Black Friday has expanded into Brown Thursday – a name I learned by watching  Jimmy Kimmel Live.   And the feelings run high.

“They’re ruining Thanksgiving!”

“It’s the death of Thanksgiving!”

A “Save Thanksgiving” Facebook page includes a “Naughty and Nice” list of who is open and who is not.  The “nice” list includes Home Depot, Sam’s Club, T.J. Maxx, Dillards.  On the “naughty” list we find “Macy’s, Walmart, Best Buy, among others.

Thirty-three million Americans have said they plan to be “naughty” this Thanksgiving.

This isn’t the first time controversy has been cooked up over Thanksgiving and shopping.  Ever hear of “Franksgiving”?    It’s a reference to our 32nd President, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his attempt to mess with tradition. The tradition was set by another President, Abraham Lincoln who, in 1863, set the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.

In 1939,  the last Thursday of the month was November 30 – which meant there were just 20 shopping days left til Christmas – not a good thing for retailers.  Business leaders, including the head guy of Federated Department Stores (Macy’s, Bloomingdales), and the Retail Dry Goods Association, expressed concern to the Secretary of Commerce who passed on the concern to the President, who in turn moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of the month – to extend the shopping season.

Simple, right?  Not at all!  The public choked on their pecan pie.
Roosevelt was compared to Hitler.
Long time Democrats threatened to vote Republican in the next election.
In time, the earlier date became known as the “Democratic Thanksgiving” while the traditional “last Thursday” Thanksgiving became the “Republican Thanksgiving.”

Finally, after two years of squabbling and gobbling,  Congress made it official:  Thanksgiving Day would be the fourth Thursday of November – all because of shopping.

Observations:

  • So much for the “good old days” when Americans cared more about getting together with family to celebrate Thanksgiving than the gross national product.  Maybe the “good old days” aren’t really too much different than these days.
  • We still demonize our leaders.
  • Maybe Thanksgiving is more than just a particular “day.”
  • Remember Lincoln?  When he established Thanksgiving Day, he asked – no, he pled with – all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

A prayer for God’s care.  Let’s pray that.  Let’s be answers to that prayer.

No disagreement with that!

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Eighty-five And It Still Hurts

Bullying is back in the news.

A few “who” “what” “where” lessons I’m learning.

Who?  Anyone can be bullied – even an NFL player.

What?  Bullying – The technical definition:

“the repeated mistreatment of an individual by a person or group of people with malicious intent, humiliation, intimidation and sabotage of the person.”

Where?  Bullying can happen anyplace – not just the playground or middle school cafeteria.

Ever hear of “workplace” bullying?

Ever listen to a bullying pastor?

Boardroom. Locker-room. Break-room. Family-room. School. Home. Church. Everywhere. Bullying happens.

The impact? Huge. A person takes his/her life. A football player walks away from a multi-million dollar career. A senior citizen can’t shake the memory.

Two weeks ago as I walked out of an assisted-living facility where I give a weekly devotion to the residents, I noticed a car parked awfully close to mine with its door left open.  My first thought was, “I hope the driver didn’t ding my door.”  I know. Not the most spiritual thought I could have had.

As I squeezed into my car between the two doors, I noticed the back seat of the car was packed full.  The driver was moving into the residence. He came out of the facility, saw me between the cars and apologized for getting so close.  I felt bad for my thought.

I offered to help him move in and he reluctantly accepted. “I don’t want to put you out.”  “I’m sure you’re busy,” and so on. I insisted, so together, we moved his stuff from his car to his new home.

His “stuff” –  now reduced to what would fit into a small sedan.
His “new home” – from a large “family” home to an efficiency apartment.

Alone.

He was a bit disoriented in the hallway of the residence.  He had mistakenly gone to a room a few doors down from the one where he had instructed me to put his “stuff.”  I went up to him.

“Sir,” I asked, “Did I hear you correctly?  Is your room #224?”
“Yes, that’s right,” he said. “I’m a little confused today,”

We walked to his room. I saw his name on the door with a big sign,“Welcome to Your New Home, Red.”

“Is this right? Is this your name?” I asked.

I don’t know if he was overwhelmed with the combination of the major transitions through which he was going or if it was a reminder of an unhealed hurt,  but with a tear trickling down his cheek he told me,

“Yes, ‘Red‘ is what they called me when I was a boy.  I had bright red hair.  Kids can be mean.  There was a lot of teasing.”

An 85 year old gentleman. A 79 year old hurt.

Yes. Bullying has an impact.  An impact that can last a lifetime.

Some would say, “Get over it.” “Toughen up.”  “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  Maybe. I don’t think, though, that that would have helped my new friend.

Jesus gives us the context in which we can deal with the hurts from bullying.

Hurting?   Let’s listen to who God says we are.  The bullies’ words are lies.  God’s words about us are true. Get some help to work through the hurt. Psychologists, counselors, therapists are great. It’s a process.

Jesus gives us the context in which bullying can be stopped.

See someone hurting?  Be a Good Samaritan and “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Put our Christianity in practice and stand with those who are hurting and against all forms of social injustice.

Hurting someone?  Why are you doing that?  What inner insecurity are you taking out on others (James 4:1-2)?

Golden rule time – Matthew 7:12.

Someone you meet today may be bullied.  Be a friend.