Thanksgiving in our house is the best and most favored holiday. I am not slamming Christmas. Who doesn’t like getting gifts, all the festive decorations, parties, and the general goodwill that seems to prevail even if just for a momentary period?
However, in our house, Thanksgiving wins.
There is something about giving thanks that is reflective. It causes us to slow down, and pause, and think about all the blessings we have in our lives.
This Thanksgiving we need to stop and reflect more than ever. There seems to be a growing uneasiness and sense of being overwhelmed by things happening all around us. Thanksgiving is a time, not to pull away and retreat into our own little world of food, football, and turkey, but to come together.
Together is a powerful word.
It means we are not alone. We are not separate. It is an acknowledgment of the authentic, messy process of being in each other lives, and of connections that are beyond just the surface.
We try to project this aura of self-assurance and that everything is perfect. Just look at our social media posts – we are so cool, so “hip,” and so invincible. And yet, inside, we are falling apart. We want to shut-down and lock-up and keep the world away from seeing the real us. However, at Thanksgiving, we have an opportunity to come together.
Hospitality and hospital both come from the same Latin word which means, at the most basic level, healing. Coming together and giving thanks is a healing process, it is a reflective process, and it is an outward process. Thanksgiving is not about gifts, but about attitude. And don’t we all need a little bit of attitude adjustment?
Some will stress over the meal being perfect and the house being immaculate, but that doesn’t matter. Things are not perfect. Life is messy, relationships are messy and sometimes strained. But now, more than ever, we need to come together and give thanks for so many different blessings. No matter how imperfect or messy they are.
In the New Testament, when the wayward son returned home after forsaking his family and spending his inheritance on wild living, his dad saw him off in the distance. The dad ran excitedly and joyfully to greet him and to welcome him home. That is the joy we should have when we welcome guests to our home. We need to experience the pure joy of seeing and celebrating being in the moment with people. Run excitedly to greet them.
At Thanksgiving, no one should eat alone. God intends for us to be together in life, in struggles, in defeat, and in the victories. When we are together, we have an opportunity to open our hearts and, for a moment, to subdue fear and to give thanks for all the blessings we have received.