It’s just around the corner and the recipes are piling high. Whether you stick with the old favorites – the time honored and kid approved recipes – or venture into unknown territory with your dishes, there’s something more important to consider this Thanksgiving.
It’s more memorable than your turkey or your pie, and something that will stick around even if the pounds you gain this holiday season could possibly be burned off.
For all your cooking and cleaning and planning and fretting, if you forget this one thing – you might as well call the whole thing off.
You will be stressed and busy. Things will not go the way you envision them as you scroll through Pinterest ideas, and some of your recipes might even fail.
Guests may be late. Or early. Or not at all.
The kids might complain about your green beans or overdo it on the fudge and pie; they might refuse your old-fashioned games and beg for screens instead; they might destroy your beautiful table or say something embarrassing in front of everyone.
They are kids, after all.
And inevitably, you will spend days and hours on something that takes mere minutes to consume, hours to clean up and weeks to burn off.
It can be easy to have a bad attitude in the midst of all that work and perceived failure. It can be the natural thing to fall back in exhaustion and under-appreciation.
It can go unnoticed until the end of the day, how your attitude set the tone and permeated the room more than the circulating goodness of turkey and pie and rolls and stuffing.
So let’s just determine something right now. Let’s determine that this day is set apart for giving thanks in all things.
Because really, it’s how we should live every day. It takes effort and reminding though, so let Thanksgiving be just that – a reminder to us all.
Let’s make an executive decision beforehand, that thanks will be given for all the imperfections of the day and the food and the family. For all the mishaps and the things you forgot (cranberries?).
For all the overdone and undone things, just give thanks.
Are you worried about setting the perfect table? Let the kids do it. Let them make special place cards and choose a centerpiece and fold the napkins.
Let them have a part in the day and let the stress of trying to be perfect just go.
Are you stressed about the food preparation? Keep it simple. Maybe choose just onenew recipe, one that can be made ahead of time.
Remember that the people are important and the food is there to nourish them and bless them. Simple always wins.
And if it’s not the food or the table or the house that is stressing you most, but the people themselves?
Invite the people you love and the people you want to love and the people who are hard to love.
Invite them to your table and give thanks together, because your other choice is bitterness and loneliness. Your other choice is to wish you’d done things differently.
God shapes us when we do hard things and sometimes, family gatherings are at the top of the list when it comes to difficult times.
Open your door to all your own imperfections and take the people that walk in, with all their imperfections and give thanks together.
Turkey is good, but at the end of the day, when the dishes are stacked and the leftovers stored, all that really matters is the people and how you loved them, the memories and how you made them, and the thanks you gave to God for all of it.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5