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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 and Black Friday 2013

I've elected not to mark future belated posts (other than Bible Verse Sunday posts), including this one, as belated. This is because I now see that due to a crowded schedule, nearly all of my posts are becoming belated. In view of this, I find it ridiculous and unrealistic to have all of my posts commemorating significant occasions be posted on the exact same day as the said occasions occur. Therefore, this post (and future "belated" posts) will not be marked as "belated." Now, on to the main  event...

The first Thanksgiving was originally celebrated by the Pilgrims as a feast to celebrate their survival and bountiful harvest in 1621 (It was not, itself, a feast of literal giving of thanks, which would have been celebrated by fasting and prayer). Various Thanksgiving Days were proclaimed by church and political leaders throughout the years to come, to give thanks for various things. For example, President George Washington once proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to give thanks to God for the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. However, Thanksgiving wasn't made an official, federal holiday until President Abraham Lincoln made it so in 1863. Since then, it has been celebrated annually in the United States. Though various "harvest festivals" are celebrated in countries throughout the world, Thanksgiving is the only holiday specifically dedicated to giving thanks for our blessings from the Almighty. Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated by gathering family members and eating a lot of food, watching the football game, and reflecting on what we're thankful for.

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, was celebrated by I and my family in a way I don't believe we ever had before. By this, I mean that most of the guests for the occasion weren't family members, but were but friends of the family. The Hilliards and the Rajaos were here, as well as my Uncle Bill and Aunt Patty and my grandparents on my dad's side, so that there were fifteen people in all. We had a wonderful time! I taught Ano, Mr. and Mrs. Rajao's son, how to play chess (he needs more practice), ate a huge amount of food, and generally had a good time filled with uplifting conversation. After everyone else left, I and my family watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," still pretty funny and touching after all of these years. This year, I am thankful for my friends, my family, the roof over my head and the food I have to eat, and my wonderful, (still mostly) free country. I am also thankful for all of the material possessions that the Lord has seen fit to bequeath to me, for my good health, and for our safe travels. Most of all though, I am thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the many other blessings that I may have forgotten to mention.

And now for something completely different. That is to say, let's talk about Black Friday. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day of greed, chaos, and waste, ironically following what is supposed to be a day of gratitude, calm, and conservation. Contrary to popular belief, its name does not come from companies getting "in the black," but rather from a nickname coined by Philadelphia police who viewed the occasion with dread. The best sales of the year are on this day, resulting in shoppers flooding stores at all hours of the day, trying to beat each other (sometimes literally) to that great deal on that flat screen or what not. Contrary to popular belief, this nightmarish scenario is not a result of capitalism, but of materialistic commercialism. There is a significant difference, but that's a different post. This day is often made light of over at Retail (for more on the comic, click here), for good reason.

For Black Friday, my dad and I traditionally try to avoid the chaos at the big stores and go do something together, usually bowling and Christmas shopping at more low key locations, such as Barnes & Noble. This year, we went down to ACME Bowl down in South Center, and we bowled a good game. He won, but I'd like to think I acquitted myself well, with around 200 points (he had around 280). That said, I really, really need to work on my technique. I went stretches of getting four gutter balls in a row, multiple times! But it was still fun, despite my wrist aching a bit at the end. We then went over to Barnes & Noble and bought some stuff. I'm so glad I have all these gift cards! After that, we drove back to Renton, grabbed lunch at Burger Town, and teamed with a bunch of other people to decorate downtown Renton. We had a lot of High School helpers this year, and I stopped by the Comic Hut after we were done and picked up a copy of Azrael: Agent of the Bat #62. I then went down to LMA to help out at the Parent's Night Out event, in which a group of younger kids were entertained with games, pizza, and, because it was Instructor Driver's birthday today, cake! All of the attendees were treated to the opportunity to shove a whipped cream pie in Instructor Driver's face (also, happy birthday, Mr. Driver!)! I helped a lot, doing things like putting down boundary cones, and with helping get rid of leftover pizza. Man, those kids were loud. But hey, pizza! Plus, the proceeds from admission go to benefit the LMA Christmas party. In sum, this was a fine beginning of the Christmas season. Man, I love Christmastime. I like Thanksgiving better, but Christmastime is a close third, after Easter. It's just so festive!

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