When you think of the holidays and Thanksgiving, do you think of a quiet family time where everyone is sharing what they are grateful for? You sit down at a long table surrounded by family and friends. You set the table with the special thanksgiving plates and the fancy goblets. Your napkins are folded to look like turkeys. You have the pilgrim salt and pepper sets out, one for each end of the table. The turkey is golden brown and steam is rising from its crispy skin. It is overflowing with stuffing and surrounded with an artistic display of fruits and veggies. There are bowls of heaping mashed potatoes and more stuffing, some with oysters and some without. Don’t forget about the sweet potato casserole and the fluffy hot rolls. Over on the sideboard is sumptuous display of desserts that is making your mouth water. You are right on time with the scheduled meal time. You take turns sharing what you are thankful for this holiday season. Is this what happens at your house?
Or maybe it is a bit different at your house. You are scrambling at the last minute to pick up the house because company is coming. Your voice rings out telling everyone what they need to be doing. You feel like you need to be everywhere at once because it is not all coming together. You are hoping the turkey will be done by the time you sit down at the table. If you are like most of America, your turkey is already carved and sliced up before it ever hits the table. There is no artistic display, but simply a platter full of turkey slices that look delicious. You are trying to come up with enough plates and silverware and they will not all match. The rest of the food display will probably look like what was described in the first paragraph. You may be up to an hour later than the scheduled meal time, but everyone is pitching in and helping to get it all together. It is loud and boisterous, with lots of conversation and laughter. It is finally ready and everyone comes to the different tables you have put in the dining room. You bow your head and thank the Lord above for the people around the room and the food you are about to eat. You may go around the table and share what you are thankful for, or you may just share it in conversation as you all dig in.
Two totally different scenarios, but neither one is wrong. Many of us strive to have the first one, but our expectations are not wise for our family. My family experiences (either side of the family) are more like the second one. It causes a whole lot less stress if you realize that and don’t shoot for something you are sure to miss. Stop putting unreal expectations on your day and enjoy your family and share your blessings with each other. Remember the day is about thankfulness and gratefulness. Many stress the thanksgiving part but leave off who we are thankful to. God is the one who gives us all our blessings. God is the one who allowed you to be part of the family you are. God is the one who deserves our thanks and praise. It is hard to have a heart full of thanksgiving, when you are stressing over the details of the day. So who cares if you eat an hour late. Look at all the fun you are having with your family and friends, trying to bring it all together. You will still have a delicious meal and wonderful fellowship.
I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving. Please leave a comment below and tell me if you are more like the first scene or the second one. I would also love to hear any special tradition that you have at your house!