First of all, can I just say that you are my favorite holiday?
I love that your entire focus is on gratitude, humility and a celebration of what we do have (and not on what we don’t).
I love that your celebration honors the changing seasons and the wonderful harvest gifts of God’s creation (pumpkins, apples… need I say more!).
I love that you ask us to come together with loved ones from far and near to sound a collaborative “Yes, we are blessed indeed.”
There are no expectations of “who will give what present to whom.” Your day is a simple chance for loved ones to share in a big potluck (often bringing treasured family recipes), to appreciate all that we’ve been given, and mostly to bow our heads for God’s undeserved kindness and mercy to us.
And yet, here it is mid-November—a little more than a week before our Thanksgiving celebrations—and so many are already getting swept up in what’s going on next month. So many rush past your day because we are in a big hurry to get on to that bigger, most showy of celebrations (Christmas). Our preparations for Christmas are beginning before we’re even through November.
I am most guilty of this: in my blogging (I’ve written several posts already for Christmas) and, in my personal life (Christmas lists and plans are already being made).
The fact is that Christmas—with all its festivities and fun and celebration—takes much time to prepare! It is a joyous, wonderful time too… but oh, the preparations and planning that must take place!
And unfortunately, these are plans that often must start before your day, Thanksgiving.
But you, Thanksgiving, seem to quietly accept this. True to your nature, you accept that, on your day of celebration, many people are preoccupied with Black Friday promotions and gift-planning before the turkey is even carved. You accept this with a humility and grace that is noteworthy and inspiring.
So I want to set the record straight (at least from my heart’s emotions on the topic): Thanksgiving, it may seem like you are forgotten, but for many of us, you are a treasured and essential part of the holiday season.
You allow us to stop, to slow down and to welcome Christmas. You give us the opportunity to reflect on all that is beautiful and pure and to acknowledge all that we have (the good and the bad).
Your day sets our hearts aright to worship the Holy One whose birth we celebrate a few weeks later.
If we allow you to, you help us to pause and to enter the Christmas season with a heart full of gratitude, joy and peace.
In the same way that John the Baptist came to prepare the people for the coming Messiah, your celebrations (both collectively with our families and privately in our hearts) prepare our weary and distracted souls for Christmas worship.
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Thanksgiving, you are valued and you are important.
And in these final days before your day is upon us, my heart is praying that we would honor and accept all that you offer us. My heart is praying that we would accept your free opportunity to focus on our true and lasting treasures (our relationship with Christ, and our relationships with each other).
Thanksgiving, I’m praying for quiet, still moments of gratitude before and after your day that would infuse new life and purpose in our Christmas celebrations and maybe, just maybe, stick with us beyond the holidays and into the new year.
Other Related Posts on Thanksgiving:
Why do you love Thanksgiving? How do you feel that Thanksgiving helps prepare you for the Christmas holiday season?