Is it really Thanksgiving week? I feel like I’ve somehow missed it due the earlier-than-usual influx of holiday ads and decorations. Is anyone else feeling dizzying disorientation? Welcome to the season where shopping ads and holiday decorations bombard our mailboxes, inboxes and all manner of television, mobile and computer screens.
Right behind #TurkeyDay come #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday. According to a Philanthropy Journal article, “Last year, Black Friday brought in over fifty-two billion dollars while Cyber Monday sales topped one and a quarter billion dollars in the United States.” Before we feel too proud that all we’re doing is give, give, giving… I also heard an article on National Public Radio this morning that shoppers in the United States will spend an average of about $140 on “self-gifting,” buying something for ourselves while shopping for others.
Move over, Turkey (or delicious vegetarian Mac-and-Cheese-Style Cauliflower I will be digging into this year)—we need room on the table to plot out the perfect sale shopping route and timetable!
Well, amidst all the hustle and bustle, a beautiful little movement flashed on my screen yesterday—introducing #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is a namely social media driven movement (hence all the #– Twitter hashtags in my post) started by a coalition of nonprofits to highlight charitable giving. Right on the heels of a frenzied shopping weekend, we are invited to give to the organizations that matter most to us. What a great idea!
Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to celebrating and being thankful for the harvest—the harvest of the fields (according to the U.S. Department of Ag lower than normal this year in U.S. staples like corn and soybeans due to earlier drought, though prices are heading up, up, up) and the harvest of the gifts we have been entrusted with. Let’s re-orient ourselves around what matters, what we are called to as people of faith.
So, bring it on holiday season. We are ready. We heed the challenge to be faithful stewards; we strive to work for justice so those without plentiful harvest can know wholeness; we give thanks for the call to serve; and we give thanks especially for all of our wonderful ELCA World Hunger leaders, friends and donors who join us in this call!
Mikka serves as program director for constituent engagement and interpretation with ELCA World Hunger. To join the network and for more information on how you can get involved, write firstname.lastname@example.org.