Thanks, A lot

But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving,’ Charlie Brown. –Marcie A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

When the holidays begin to creep into our lives, many of us start to feel the fingers of stress tighten around our throats and chest and it becomes hard to breathe! Why does this happen?? I mean, I understand why, but I guess the real question that I’m trying to ask is, “Why do we allow it to happen? Is it the pressure that we put on ourselves, or is it the pressure that we allow others to put on us? Is it seeing people that we haven’t seen in a while that sparks healed wounds to ooze, and old emotional injuries to throb? Maybe it’s all of the above!

So many times, as mommas, we have these epic Hollywood versions of what Thanksgiving should be like. Everybody comes over to a clean house where the children, who have been classically trained in piano, are giving a recital while the turkey is being basted. Miraculously, the desserts, side dishes AND turkey are all finished cooking at the exact same time, and are ALL bubbly golden brown. Then, as all family members sit down at a Martha Stewart decorated table, with nameplates, we hold hands and go around the table and express our deepest gratitude for all our blessings. Then, as a family, we all enjoy this gratifying feast together…and, then we wake up from this dream! We build up this massive expectation that in no possible way can ever be met, and then when it’s not, it comes crashing down on us like a 100,000-pound drumstick!

Many American Thanksgivings look like this: the family comes to the door, hopefully sober, and the kids are fighting over what TV. show to watch. As things boil over on the stove and the casserole burns, someone throws-up on the kitchen floor and has to be quarantined. Then, we all sit down to a hodgepodge table where there is a mix match of dishes and silverware, and let out a scream that we forgot that the rolls are in the oven, and now has set off the fire alarm. That’s life!

But, you know what? Life is full of the unexpected. It’s the unexpected that makes for the best stories. If life were perfect, wouldn’t it be boring?? It’s the bringing together of those who have made an impact in our lives. Sometimes the impact is good, sometimes not, but either way, our lives are shaped by our family experiences. This is a perfect opportunity to show your family Jesus. It is a time to show patience, love and hospitality. If we expect the unexpected, if we expect for people to behave the exact same way that they have behaved for the past 20 years, then wouldn’t we have a better holiday season? We can’t control how others behave, but we can control how we react to them.

There are very limited Thanksgivings I get to have with my children. In fact, I really only get 18 of them that they HAVE to spend with me, and they can’t run somewhere else. If you are a single parent, you may have less than that to be with your children for the holidays. Don’t you want them to remember these times with laughter and fondness? Don’t you want them to say, “Remember when…?” They are watching how you react. It’s such a great time to really soak up the family, hold them close. Days turn into months, and months turn into years, and before you know it, what we knew is gone. Live in the moment, and truly be thankful for all we have.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28

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