Here we are in the middle of "Black Friday", a day dedicated to the unbridled expression of our consumeristic society. This is the day of super sales, of packed stores and near riots in those stores when "the doors open", of the official beginning of the holiday season, of our going mad. The retail store that my sister works in was well on their way to reaching their goal for the day, a fact that she reported to me as she got home from a thirteen hour shift late this morning. Hopefully she is sleeping soundly at home. My understanding is that this is called "Black Friday" because it is the hoped for moving of the bottom line of commercialism into the black, into the good of profit. I call it "Black Friday" for other reasons - it brings out that which is less appealing in our human nature.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, is now being referred to as "Grey Thursday", mainly because many of those same stores are opening earlier, even into Thanksgiving Day - to appease eager shoppers and to get a jump on things. A day held sacred for lots of years even in our secular society has begun to be undermined.
Thanksgiving was a day of rest, a day with family and friends, a day of good food, fellowship, prayer and gratitude. Even for those not wise enough to recognize a greater power that is the source of our blessings, it was nonetheless a day of being grateful for what we have. It was a special day set aside for something greater than the ordinary and the usual. With parades and football and hopefully Mass or a time of prayerful gratitude, it stood out and helped us regain our priorities and reset our goals. The infringement on that day is to be lamented. The "greying" of Thanksgiving is to be counted a loss.
But my lamenting goes well beyond Thanksgiving Day, for the way we describe thanksgiving is the way we used to and should continue to describe our "day of thanksgiving" which began and should begin our every week - the Lord's Day. What we are losing in the national holiday has already been lost in our busy and self consumed society. When we lost that day, that moment for family and friends, that gathering around the Table of the Lord and our family table, that day of rest and refreshment, we began to lose our souls. We accept it under the guise of the inevitable or the common good, but we are less for it. The brightness of that first day of the week, "SUN"day, our recharging moment of grace, has been clouded over in the darkness of self. If we have accepted the greyness that afflicts Sundays then how can we be surprised that even Thanksgiving is being lost.