I love the holiday season. It’s festive and fun. I do not mind the early start of Christmas decorations going up at or before thanksgiving. Christmas decorations are so much fun, I’d get them up for the thanksgiving holiday each time if I could. As long as we do not forget about thanksgiving in the midst of our holiday preps, then let the retail stores go at it. But isn’t it nice that our holidays start with thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving, a time to celebrate and enjoy all the good in our lives. Thanksgiving, a time to be with people, sharing what we have with one another. Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful to each other and to God.
1. Thanksgiving reminds us to celebrate, starting off the holiday season!
Whether you have extended family near by or not, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this holiday season. Celebrate with family or friends. Celebrate with international students or immigrants. Celebrate at the nursing home or the homeless shelter! Celebrate with your neighbors or your church. Take time to enjoy the people in your life regardless of your differences. Enjoy those you know and those you meet. Let this thanksgiving start your holiday season on a positive note as you thank God for each person you already know and each person you intend to bless.
2. Thanksgiving reminds us to express gratefulness to those dear to us.
Do you have family to celebrate with? Be thankful for them and do not take them for granted. In fact, take time to listen to them, enjoying their stories and jokes; and even mom’s anxieties and the aunts’ eccentrics. Enjoy the grandmothers spoiling the children which provide the breathers that give us moms a break! Having family and extended family to celebrate with also means one person does not have to do all the cooking. Everyone may contribute and enjoy the big dinner together!
Often there are those who cannot be with us for the holidays whether the reason is distance or jobs or complex family issues, but the holidays are sure to keep them in our hearts and there are many ways we can show them we care, whether by phone call, email, or even facebook–or maybe just an old fashioned letter or card.
3. Thanksgiving reminds us of God’s provision in our lives.
It’s time to count our blessings. My biggest blessing is family–having extended family I see at least on holidays, 2 grandparents still to visit with; mom, dad and two sisters on my side; sister-in-law and her three children, brother in-law, mother and father-in law on my husbands side; and my own immediate family of my husband and two year old daughter whose lives have intertwined with mine. I am thankful to be near my husbands side of the family helping me get to know them and him more, and I am glad my own immediate family is able to visit throughout the year.
Another blessing for my husband and I is that for the first two years of our daughter’s life, daddy stayed home with her. Maybe the situation did not always seem ideal, but it turned out to be needed sometimes to care for me as well as her. Not only that, it gave us more time to bond as a family before life starts going too fast, which I know it will when I have more kids who will develop tastes for their own types of activities.
What about you? What are your blessings? Maybe its family, like me. Or maybe you have close friends you see regularly or time to keep up with fun hobbies or a great career. Or maybe you have extra money to spend so you can get your family and friends gifts worry free this year.
Moms and dads relish in being with your families this thanksgiving and holiday season. And if there are family you cannot see this year, invite those who have no one to celebrate with to join you in their place to bless them in a way that surprises them.
For I have had thanksgivings and even Christmases away from family while I went to Fuller Seminary in California. Most thanksgivings there, I always had an invite to celebrate with my pastor’s family, Pastor Ken Andrews. One Christmas, I invited some international student friends over. We had a blast eating dinner and opening presents under my medium Christmas tree. No one has to be alone for the holidays… That is my hope and prayer for all.
So families, friends, neighbors, those who have more, and those who have less; lets be thankful and willing to share and enjoy each one’s company this thanksgiving and all season long!