Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which is hard to focus on when TV and radio ads for Black Friday have been playing for the past three weeks. Seriously, three weeks. It’s been almost surreal to think that Thanksgiving is tomorrow since Kara and I have been so busy with getting ready for our move to St. Louis. But you’d have to be deaf and blind to not sense the clash between Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

I’ve heard the ads on the radio and seen them on TV pretty much non-stop for the past week and a half to two weeks. It’s been the usual rolling waves of Black Friday focus: killer sales, early bird openings, door-busters, and online discounts. The thing I’ve noticed this year though is the timing.

Fifteen years ago it was considered early for a store to open by 5 AM on Black Friday. Ten years ago it was 3 AM. This year I’ve noticed that stores are opening with sales on Thanksgiving night, some stores at around 6 or 7 PM. The line of Black Friday’s invasion has steadily pushed earlier and earlier to where Thanksgiving isn’t given the gap needed to separate itself from its consumer-focused successor.

Is Black Friday all bad and from the devil? No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m wondering though is if we can consciously create our own gap to separate the two, to give Thanksgiving the attention and introspection that it was designed to command.

Take the time to focus in on Thanksgiving tomorrow and all the many incredible gifts that God has chosen to give us (translation: things we don’t deserve) by focusing on each one by one for a period of time.

If you’re driving, turn off the radio with the Black Friday last-minute ads and zero in on your blessings.

If you’re prepping food in the kitchen and it doesn’t need your fullest attention, think through how your life is better this year in certain areas.

Go for a walk and pray, think, talk out loud, and stay present with your blessings.

Turn off the TV with the commercials and let your mind wander towards a rhythm of gratitude by repeating the phrase, “I thank God for ____” and filling in the blank with whatever list of things come to mind.

The clash between Thanksgiving and Black Friday is a present reality in an ignorant and indifferent world. We can either choose to let those two collide with the same ignorance around us or we can actively separate the two in our hearts and minds to keep our priorities healthy and our thankfulness intact.