The Difference Between Customs and Habits

Pre Black FridayHappy belated Thanksgiving to all of the readers out there! Despite the inevitable stress and chaos that the holidays may bring, I hope you had the opportunity to spend moments with family and ponder the many things that we have to be thankful for!

In a similar vein, words cannot express how thrilled I was to read about the decades old “blue laws” in the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine that have banned the new fad of shopping on Thanksgiving day.  I know everyone may not agree with me on this idea, but I would support a similar ban on professional sports activities on Thanksgiving Day, as well.  Before I get myself into trouble, I should note that I am in no way against the notion of watching football on Thanksgiving with the family.  However, in order to watch the game, it requires athletes, staff, and spectators to be away from their families on a day when we are meant to be surrounded by loved ones, while pondering the things we have to be thankful for.

Perhaps I am a little old school, but some things I like to keep close to tradition.  It is my traditional way of thinking that has led me to wonder where do we draw the line between customs and habits?  It holds true to the customs of the first Thanksgiving to gather with our friends and family and profess our love and gratitude.  Yet, what about the new trend of shopping on this sacred day, or going to sporting events instead of seeing our families? It’s true that the three wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to honor the birth of the newborn King, Jesus. I’ve always believed that gift giving is okay, as long as we  remember the reason behind why we do the things we do around the holidays.

The idea of football on Thanksgiving is actually really nice, provided you are with your family for the day.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just go back to playing touch football in the yard with our families instead of leaving them to watch a game on Thanksgiving?

That said, I do believe it is wonderful that certain states are prohibiting America’s newest spin on a sacred holiday. Even when it’s masked with the phrase “pre-Black Friday” it does not cover up the underlying truth behind the activity: going shopping on Thanksgiving Day instead of being with your family. New traditions can be fun and I believe activities like wearing the same pjs, exchanging ornaments, or watching a movie as a family will only enhance the holiday experience. It’s when our actions keep us away from our families that we begin to see a divide between custom and just habit.

We could all use a reminder of what the holidays really mean.  So, I encourage you all to stay with your families this holiday season if you can and to keep Christ in Christmas! As always, please remember to encourage excellence to others in all that you do!

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