Can Gratitude Survive Black Friday?  by Don Ingwerson

This is one of the best weeks of the year on my calendar, as Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's a time to gather family together and slow down, to step away from life's busyness and immerse myself in the love of family, country, and God.

But wait a minute. Who put Black Friday there? After sharing a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, why would I want to get up in the middle of the night to beat my neighbors to the store in order to buy something that I can't afford at regular prices? 

In truth, I’d never paid too much attention to Black Friday – until recently. I was considering a gift for a granddaughter and I realized that if I could buy a particular item at Black Friday prices I would be able to give her a gift that met a need. My motive was a sharing, caring spirit.

So, okay, maybe shopping on Black Friday isn’t always about excessive consuming.  But it is important to do a thought check to see if we’re being influenced to spend more of our time buying more than we need – all of which would seem to detract from the message of love and gratitude surrounding Thanksgiving. 

Spiritual leader Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “The time for thinkers has come.” This statement is as true now as it was when she wrote it in 1875, when her focus was very much on spiritual thinking – thinking from the vantage point of there being a God of inexhaustible generosity, and what that means to us as the objects of such divine love.

Still today we need thoughts of gratitude for what we have instead of too much desire for what we don’t have; thoughts of the free flow of God’s supply of true needs instead of resignation to limitation; thoughts of our worth as God’s children instead of judging ourselves by our possessions. These more spiritual views help us maintain balance and promote our health and happiness. Eddy also offers these thoughts on gratitude – so important during this Thanksgiving season and throughout the year: “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.”

Taking time this Thanksgiving season to reflect with gratitude on both the divine and human good in our lives and to pray for the world, neighbors, friends, and family, is more than just a nice thing to do. It can promote our own peace and a healthier world.  And it can show us that what we are as God’s spiritual creations means so much more than what we can ever own materially. 

In this way Thanksgiving can serve as a benchmark of what can and should stay in our hearts on and beyond Black Friday - whether we shop or not!

Don lives in Laguna Beach with his wife and they are both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices. Don blogs on health and spirituality and you can read more at

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