Does Thanksgiving Make You Act Like a Turkey?
Next Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving. I am sure many of you are already feeling the anxiety of preparing the perfect table and delicious meal for everyone to enjoy. Many of you have been slamming Pinterest for new recipes, ideas, and home décor to make your home festive and welcoming. The pressure you are putting on yourself is huge because of the family and friends that are coming, and you need to convince your in-laws that their son has married a gourmet cook and the equivalent of a Martha Stewart.
However, all of your preparation has turned you into a crazy woman. If you find yourself screaming at the kids, your husband and even wanting to kick the dog, it may be because you are going overboard. Of course, we want everything to be perfect and our guests to be impressed with our homemaking skills, but at what cost?
It is hard to be thankful when Thanksgiving becomes a dreaded chore. This isn’t what Thanksgiving is all about. God is not asking you to be a martyr. In fact, God didn’t even ask you to cook! We set aside the fourth Thursday in November to reflect on all the blessings God has given us. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the details of the meal and décor we forget the real reason for Thanksgiving is to simply BE THANKFUL!
It is wonderful to gather with family and friends to share a beautiful meal, eat lots of pie, hold babies and listen to the laughter of children as they run through the house. However, if you are feeling anything less than joyful you might want to re-evaluate your Thanksgiving Day blueprint and design a new plan with more thankfulness and less stress.
For years I held Thanksgiving dinner at home with both sides of our family. Was it fun? No, because I hadn’t learned early on to accept help from others. The first few years I did all the cooking, baking, decorating and turned myself into a crazy woman. At the end of the day I would be exhausted, miserable and resentful. Now, does that sound like I was very thankful? I wasn’t, and it became one of the days of the year I dreaded the most because I didn’t like who I became. On a day that was supposed to be filled with celebration and thanksgiving, I was only thankful it was over. People would offer to help, but I would say I had it under control. Oh, I did have it under control because I was too much of a control freak to let anybody else help.
After about five years of this misery, I gave in and waved the white flag. Thanksgiving dinner had grown because our families grew, and so did our circle of friends. A new plan was adapted and put into place. After discussion with family and friends, we decided I was only responsible for the turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and potatoes. All of the drinks, side dishes and desserts were the responsibility of the others attending. The first year of not being in control of it all was hard, but I promise you it will be okay if nobody brings rolls or a pumpkin pie. I can tell you it may happen once, but chances are it will never happen again.
Meal cleanup became easy because we used fancy plastic plates instead of glass plates which needed to be washed. Also, I only had place settings for sixteen, and there were twenty-eight of us if everybody came so, it became a no-brainer. No one ever complained, and my table still looked as beautiful as if they were glass plates. What I learned was to choose my battles about what I could and couldn’t do, and in doing so, I became thankful because I had time to focus on BEING thankful.
I love to set my table the night before, putting all of the tablecloths and decorations on each table. It also gives me the opportunity to pray for each person and tell God what I am thankful for about each person from the youngest to the oldest.
In letting go, God let me see and experience Thanksgiving in a new way. I no longer have to be the crazy woman filled with tension because Thanksgiving needed to be perfect. Don’t allow the enemy to take the joy and gratitude out of your Thanksgiving celebration.
One of the things I do every day is to pray and ask God to bring to my mind all the things I have to be thankful about. It is great we set aside a whole day to be thankful. However, Thanksgiving isn’t just one day, but an everyday attitude of thankfulness.
As you prepare for Thanksgiving next week, let the peace of Christ rule your heart.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.