Thanksgiving Day in America has expanded to include other activities. What is at the heart of the day's observance?
[Darris McNeely] What will you be doing on Thanksgiving Day? In a few days in America, this is going to be America's day of Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday of every November, wonderful holiday that we have here. I've been noticing a trend in recent years, and it really seemed to accelerate last year in that we have always had what they call "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy that takes place, to open up the winter shopping season of American retailing industry. But last year they began to open on Thanksgiving Day, in many of the major retailers in America. Now there's a bit of a backlash this year, because while many will still be open on Thanksgiving Day, several have made a point of saying that they will not be open on Thanksgiving Day to give their employees time to be with their families and to keep Thanksgiving as they choose, which is being met with a great deal of applause by some, in that we don't want to make this day so overly commercialized. And so, that's going to be playing itself out. I guess people will have a choice.
There's another trend that I noticed in an article that people are doing more and more on Thanksgiving – believe it or not, they're exercising. 5k runs, walks, extreme events that are taking place on Thanksgiving Day in many parts of the world, and especially picking up in the United States, to get out and do things. Interestingly, I guess, you can work off a lot of calories before you sit down at the table and eat your turkey and dressing and put those calories back on.
I don't know what you'll be doing, but whatever it is – shopping, exercising, watching football, gathering with family – I hope that whatever you do, you will indeed stop and offer a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for the blessings that you have, whatever they may be, in front of you on that Thanksgiving Day. It is a traditional holiday with religious overtones, it is certainly one that is secular in a sense that it has been sanctioned by the United States government, and a day set aside on the calendar for it. But being thankful is a spiritual matter. And it doesn't hurt any of us to make sure that that is a part of what we do on that day. Gratitude, giving thanks on a day of thanksgiving, is a very important matter to do. Whatever you do, be sure you put that first.
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