Didn’t you just love Thanksgiving as a kid? For me, this holiday meant the excitement of time with my cousins – running and jumping in huge mounds of leaves, hanging from trees until we were red-faced, playing in the garden, and eating my grandmother’s amazing (and I mean amazing), cooked-from-scratch Thanksgiving dinner.
At the time, it was just plain fun, but as an adult, I now know it was more. There was a warmth there – an indescribable feeling of love, joy, peace and belonging. I can just picture God smiling down on us as we sat around that dark wood table, holding hands and bowing our heads. You see, He designed families to hold onto one another – encouraging one another, building each other up.
Nowadays, I make the 8-hour round trip to my parents’ house with my two little girls, who can’t wait to see their cousins, to roll around in the leaves, and to eat my sort-of amazing (and I mean sort-of amazing) chocolate pecan pie. Because if I can pass that indescribable warmth on to my children, nieces and nephews, then this might just be the best Thanksgiving ever.
Here are four simple ways I plan to accomplish this hefty task…
1. I’m going to start talking to my children now about what it truly means to give thanks. I’ll surround them with thankful, thought-provoking messages, using décor such as the Give Thanks Wood & Metal Wall Art and the Give Thanks to the Lord Throw Pillow to remind them of God’s unfailing love. These are conversation starters that help guide these conversations. Maybe we’ll pass the pillow as we sit in the living room, each of us naming the top three things for which we are thankful.
2. By allowing my kids to help me write Thanksgiving cards to my friends and family, I will teach them the value of gratitude, while also reminding those long-lost cousins of God’s goodness in our lives.
3. I will reserve time to connect with my kids and the whole family. Instead of spending the whole holiday in the kitchen, I will cook what I can ahead of time, put it in inspirational paper bakeware, then heat it up when the big day comes. And I’ll spend the time I save jumping in the leaves with the kids.
4. I’ll manage my expectations. Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, such as when you’re pulling hot rolls out of the oven while little ones are running underfoot, everyone is talking at the same time, and your niece has been banging on the piano for the last half hour – you catch my drift. This year, I’m going to rest in the Lord, and when things get a little out of control, I plan to sit down with a hot cup of tea, take a deep breath, and enjoy the scenery.
Whatever you do, be sure to take time to breathe in God’s blessings this holiday season. Take some time to enjoy the family, share some joy and encouragement and gratitude with others, be good to yourself, and invite your family and friends to do the same!