I’m with Jason.

In his column this week, Sentinel sports editor Jason Bowen wrote, “Thanksgiving (Day) has become (little more than) a speed bump on the road to ‘Black Friday.’”

He bemoaned the fact that many major retail businesses are opening on a day set aside for giving thanks and enjoying fellowship with family and friends.

“I miss the way Thanksgiving used to be,” he said. “And, I do not like what it has become: a pregame meal for shoppers.”

He hit the nail on the head but I’ll take it a bit further.

Families are losing traditions. They are being diverted, long before Thanksgiving rolls around, to thinking about Christmas shopping and all the ‘must-have’ items of the season. Soon after Halloween, big business’ focus turns to Christmas. There’s little mention of Thanksgiving.

As an aside, I will say that the Publix television commercial depicting the mishaps and good things of several families including burned turkey, dropped casseroles and a kid sitting on a phone book so he can reach the big table is a good one. It serves as a reminder that Thanksgiving is for gathering together and being thankful for one another and the blessings of another year no matter how discombobulated the day may become.

I think back and remember Thanksgivings past as a kid and as an adult. It has always been a time, whether growing up or with the in-laws, when we give thanks and do very little but sit around and talk. It has been and I hope continues to be family time.

Sure, we eat too much. There’s turkey and dressing and casseroles galore plus salads and breads. There are snacks to nibble on all day long not to mention a desert or two thrown in for good measure. The whole day is a grand tradition.

I’m fortunate, like Jason, to have been raised in a Christian family and to have married into one where the tradition of giving thanks to God for all His provisions was and remains important. We’ve lost that in America. It’s foolish and just another example of a society gone haywire, slowly but surely losing sight of its first priorities and giving way to moral decay.

Thanksgiving is more than about stuff, it’s about people with whom we share our lives and it’s about recognizing that God provides.

It’s a time to catch up with one another, dream about another New Year and to honor Him for his daily presence in our lives.

So this year, as you enjoy that turkey and dressing (stuffing in other parts of the country), sweet potato casserole, the array of vegetables, a little cranberry sauce and grandma’s ambrosia and pecan pie, slow down, think back through the year and give thanks for all your blessings recognizing the One from whom all blessings flow.

Then, on Friday, go knock yourself out battling for those gadgets that must go under the tree. But, if you don’t get that special item don’t be bitter, jealous or angry — give thanks. There may be a reason you didn’t get what you wanted at just that moment.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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