Before the sun set on Thanksgiving Day, stores across our country opened their doors to shoppers seeking an early start on Black Friday specials. This “busiest shopping day of the year” is etched deeply into our culture and our economy. In the past decade, another retail phenomenon has developed in the days following Thanksgiving. The technological revolution and savvy marketers have given us Cyber Monday, which is filled with promotions aimed at online shoppers.
On the heels of these two commercial events, a third post-Thanksgiving tradition has emerged, and it is claiming the attention of more and more people, including Presbyterians. Giving Tuesday exists for one purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.
The event, which is in its sixth year, was created by the 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center in New York City, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. It is billed as “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.”
By the time Giving Tuesday arrives, most of the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers have been eaten or thrown away, and the season’s hymns of gratitude have been set aside for another year. However, Giving Tuesday’s emphasis on generosity offers Christians an opportunity to hit the reset button and rediscover the joy of giving thanks.
The life of discipleship is grounded in gratitude toward God. Thanksgiving is not simply a day or a season; it is an attitude that gives birth to action. The 17th century English Presbyterian clergyman Matthew Henry put it this way: “Thanksgiving is good, but ‘thanksliving’ is better.”
On Giving Tuesday, we can express our thanksliving through generous giving. Today, as you ponder the many wonderful possibilities for your giving, I hope you will consider supporting the work of your church. At the national level, you can give to the ministries of Presbyterian Mission through its Giving Tuesday page and to the work of other Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) agencies through the Presbyterian Foundation here.
Poet Maya Angelou reminds us that gratitude should be the underpinning of our spiritual lives and that our communion with the Holy One should lead us to strive for a better world. In Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer, she writes: “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
This year’s Giving Tuesday will be a wonderful opportunity to channel your generosity toward the elimination of suffering and the promotion of good. Your giving today will be a testament to your thanksliving.
Pat Cole, Communications Specialist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray:
Gracious God, thank you for the joy that comes from giving. Bless us with grateful hearts that prompt us to work for a world that reflects your will. Amen.