Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I think one reason is that it kicks off a lengthy holiday season, but there are other reasons as well.
There are no "requirements" for this holiday, aside from having food. There are no stockings or baskets to fill. There are no candles to light or presents to buy. There is no candy to buy. There is no place to go to swat bugs and watch fireworks.
Please don't get me wrong. I really enjoy all of the holidays I just mentioned. I just like Thanksgiving more.
With the exception of Black Friday (which now begins on Thursday, something I won't be getting into at this time), Thanksgiving is completely non-commercialized. We don't have required Thanksgiving apparel or songs...it is completely about the people...and the food.
I love spending the day in the kitchen making the dishes that we only have once or twice a year. It really doesn't make sense that I don't get completely stressed out in the kitchen. I usually do make a list, based on how long each dish takes to prepare, to plan out the day. Beyond that, my mom and I just do what we need to do. It amazes me that there are times when just getting a regular dinner on the table can almost push me over the edge, but I can put a Thanksgiving Feast together with little to no stress. Isn't that strange?
Not really. I think it all has to do with attitude. Perspective. During the week, there are places to be and things to do and sometimes dinner is just one more thing that has to be accomplished. Not so with Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving, it is all about the meal...no rushing to go anywhere. It is all a labor of love and gratitude. The friends and family members who join us bring dishes as well. And the entire day is spent laughing and talking and sharing and...being thankful. Isn't that really the bottom line?
During this time of the year, we are reminded to be thankful. It is hard not to be reminded when you're saying Thanksgiving several times a day leading up to the big day.
Doesn't that just change everything? When we focus on what we have instead of what we don't have...when we look at all the good stuff instead of thinking about the bad...it is much easier to have the right attitude and act accordingly.
I love Thanksgiving. I love being surrounded by family and friends in a home filled with the smells of amazing dishes. I love hearing the kids of all ages talking and playing and laughing. I love seeing the parade, and then football, on the TV, even if the volume is turned down.
How different would my life be if I could somehow be as thankful on Friday as I am on Thursday? And the next day? And the next?
Can you imagine how different life would be if we could focus daily on all that we have rather than what we don't have?
Please don't misunderstand me. I know there are bad things happening everywhere all the time. I know there are people out of work and in trouble and dealing with hunger and loss.
I also know that God calls us to give thanks always...to praise Him always...He doesn't say we have to like everything that happens to us or every situation we are in...He just tells us to be thankful while we are there.
That is my challenge to myself. Every time I start to grumble, I want to replace it with something I am thankful for. When I am about to lose my mind because my daughter has been talking constantly form sun-up to sundown, I am going to be thankful that I have a healthy, amazing daughter who wants to talk to me. When the kids are fighting and driving me crazy, or getting along and driving me crazy, I am going to be thankful that I have them here with me where I can hear them annoying me. When my husband does something that gets on my nerves, I am going to be thankful that I have a husband who works to support this family and who loves me and his children. When I am driving (Oh, this is a big one for me), and someone does something that aggravates me, I am going to try to be thankful that I have a car to drive to begin with. When the laundry just won't stop, I am going to be thankful for the clothes we have, and when I notice how much I have to do to clean the house, I am going to be thankful that I have a home.
I know I will fail and fall short. But when I do, I am going to be thankful for a God who forgives with his amazing grace. I know the hard times will still come, but I am going to be thankful for my faith.
Want to join me on this challenge? How could we change the world with a little more thankfulness instead of "wanting more-ness"? Who knows? It's worth a shot.