I have a tendency to overlook Thanksgiving and jump straight to Christmas. Even now, I’m writing this in my living area which I’ve already decorated with all of my Christmas decorations, one week before Thanksgiving has arrived. Our culture seems to gloss over Thanksgiving as well; retail stores fill their shelves with Christmas decorations as soon as Halloween is over, and Santa Claus begins making appearances at the mall before we’ve even carved and enjoyed our turkeys.
I absolutely love Christmas and all it stands for. I love the peaceful feeling it brings to my home, the time I get to spend with family, and most of all I love being able to celebrate the birth of my Savior, who sacrificed Himself so that I could be reconciled with God. But despite my love and borderline obsession with Christmas, I am trying my best to appreciate and love Thanksgiving, too.
Thanksgiving is more than just food, football and parades. It is a time for us to slow down, reflect on our lives, and show gratitude to God for all that we’ve been blessed with.
“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”
Frank A. Clark
Let’s make a conscious effort to make Thanksgiving meaningful again. Here are some simple steps we can take to make that happen.
Start Your Day in the Word
I encourage you to start Thanksgiving day by reading a little bit of your Bible. Before you go to bed on Wednesday night, set your Bible next to your bed so that it’s accessible first thing in the morning. Thanksgiving can be a hectic day; preparing for family and making sure the meal and house are in order before guests arrive can be especially stressful. You may even be in a situation where you have to split your holidays with different families. Beginning Thanksgiving Day by digging into the Word of God and spending quiet time in His presence is the best way to get your spirit and mind in the right place.
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
Be Present During Family Time
I’m not sure what your holidays look like, but for most of us, Thanksgiving brings families together into one home, often times even bringing family members from out of state back home. Sometimes we look forward to seeing family we haven’t seen a long time, but other times, we are not-so-delighted to see certain members. While Thanksgiving can thrust us into uncomfortable family conversations and situations, we should choose to be present and to be intentional in our actions.
Rather than complaining about Uncle So-and-So or that crazy cousin everyone dreads seeing, intentionally choose to make the most of the holiday and to see the best in everyone. Engage in meaningful conversations and cherish the time with your family. Don’t spend your time buried in your phone the entire day. Remember, positive attitudes and actions illicit positive reactions, so be intentional and present.
“And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, all more as you see the day approaching.”
This seems like a given, right? After all, the entire premise of Thanksgiving is gratitude. This Thanksgiving, let’s not ignore or forget that.
Give thanks for your family, for your finances, for God’s provision, food on the table, employment, opportunities, a church family, friends, the ability to worship without being persecuted, and for a God who forgives you when you’re selfish and who loves you beyond comprehension.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.”