Black Thursday ,Black Hearts

by Russ Ward

The smell of homemade bread starts wafting through the house as preparations for Thanksgiving begin. The sweet scent of bread will soon be replaced by a potent combination of turkey, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie as the day and hour of feasting approaches. On Thanksgiving day, for many of us, our homes will be bulging more than our stretch pants, with family and friends ready to chow down and the meal of meals will shortly be consumed in record time. Our couches and overstuffed chairs will then be graced with football fans and nappers alike for the after feed tradition of TV follies. The burning questions on the lips of the zombified viewers will be "Who will beat the Lions this year?" followed by, "Is there any pie left?"

The only notion that this annual tradition has more important roots, is the statuette of the husband and wife pilgrims in the centerpiece of the crumb filled banquet table. She, in her long black petticoat, waistcoat, white apron and coif. He in his doublet, breeches, cuffs and felt hat adorned with a well worn buckle.

If for a moment they could come alive, I am sure they would brush the dust from their shoulders, shake their heads in disgust and shed a small tear. Is this what they celebrated so long ago?  Thank goodness they cannot speak and express their shame at the site of the modern Thanksgiving.

But, now there is a new preoccupation that will consume Americans in its wanton avarice and greed. Now, while some doze off the effects of too much turkey others can shop off the pounds at Kmart, Target, Toys R Us, Gap, Best Buy, Macy's, Walmart, Radio Shack, and JCPenny in a brand new tradition, "Black Thursday". We have long called the day after Thanksgiving "Black Friday" as it was the first day that many retailers would be in the "black" the day after ten plus months in the red. It was traditionally a time that shoppers would set their alarm clocks for pre-dawn hours in hopes of finding just the right gift, at bargain-basement prices.

Now, it has been replaced by "Black Thursday". I am sure the same rational will guarantee that the name will stand for turning a profit, but my view is that Black Thursday will come to represent more than dollars in Kmart's wallet. It will more eloquently speak to the condition of the soul of our country.

The blackness has seemed to give us a collective amnesia about our heritage and who we were. Yes, that was intentionally past tense. Our soul is no longer the soul of the pilgrim who came to the shores of a new land to find a place they could worship in peace, raise families closer to God and spread the gospel. Instead, we are adrift in a land that the pilgrims of old, would have shunned and rejected.

So this Thanksgiving, for just a moment try and clear your head, fogged with the ways of the world, and dozens of sales flyers and remember the pilgrims. Remember the pilgrims and be thankful that they came to america, survived and then thrived all the while thanking God for his provision. Then pray a prayer of thanksgiving yourself to God. In this way you can keep the Thanksgiving tradition and keep it well.