Do you look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings with excitement? Or, do you have a little bit of dread tucked inside the deep recesses of your heart? Holidays can be extra testy if you or a family member has illness, if you have a prodigal, or when you face any number of other issues. It could be that you have just a regular ol’ normal dysfunctional family.
While I pondered this year’s festivities at my house, I wondered how it will be for you. Thanksgiving isn’t always like the Hallmark cards and movies with happy endings, all tied up in a nice pretty bow. I’ve already begun streaming those sappy-sweet Christmas movies I love so much (grin). They’re a nice little happy break, but that’s just it. They are not reality.
Let’s face it…family time can sometimes be rough. For those of you with a prodigal, holidays can be even agonizing. I understand and feel your grief. Our thankfulness may not come easy, but you can find it. In Christ.
This passage has helped me find peace in the hardest of seasons. Slowly taking in these verses can give you a new, refreshed attitude about your Thanksgiving thankfulness.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds
anything we can understand. His peace will guard your
hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
The Lord is our number one reason for giving thanks. (Refer to The Praise Challenge if necessary.) We have so many reasons for which to praise our heavenly Father! With Him as your focal point, you will feel His peace. You can endure anything and everything “through Christ who gives you strength”.
God is orderly, organized, methodical and…not rushed. Take His example and be the same – through prayer and preparedness. He loves you and your family members – even the ones most troublesome.
To begin laying a foundation of peace and calm, avoid stressing over the meal preparations. If you haven’t yet done so, plan your menu(s) today while settled into your favorite spot to ponder next week. Enjoy a nice, hot drink or a warming, health-boosting latte as you plan. 🙂
Write (and follow) a time chart for each item you’ll tackle on days leading up to your planned meal(s). For example, make the cornbread for cornbread dressing and freeze it days in advance. Assemble the day before Thanksgiving, bake, and re-heat the next day, adding stock to soften it, if needed. Make your giblet gravy now by using boxed chicken stock, chopped veggies, boiled eggs, and all the seasonings. Quickly add giblets or turkey pieces before the meal is served.
Perhaps set your table this week before actual food prep begins. Start with the thing that gets you into the holiday spirit. Pray as you go. If you’re not hosting a meal but have guests coming for a visit, make the same type of schedule for bed/bath and cleaning preparations.
Inch by inch, you’ll be organized and ready physically for your guests and whatever else comes. You will be calm, cool, collected…and spirit-filled. With parts and pieces completed each day this coming week, you’ll have everything going smoothly as it all comes together for a peaceful family time together.
Take slow, deep breaths and smile. Enjoy the process. Pray continually about any strained relations in your home. Pray silent blessings on all who will gather at your table. God unites – and He soothes it all.
Now, think about it. Do you feel less anxious? I pray so. Giving thanks is easiest when not under duress.
Because He lives~