Perhaps it feels a little bit too early to be thinking about Thanksgiving. Maybe the idea of thinking about Thanksgiving just gave rise to some emotional thoughts or emotional turmoil. Maybe you have a desire to stop reading because you don’t want to think about Thanksgiving or the holidays that follow…
There’s a lot of extra “gunk” going on this year that could make our holiday season more challenging. Things that we are used to doing, things that are “normal”, are not going to be possible. I think this makes it all the more important for us to start thinking early about how we want to choose to celebrate. If we wait too long, we’ll be caught up in the whirlwind (and likely that could get ugly this year), so for your own sanity (and the sanity of those around you), let’s take a Wednesday moment to think about what’s to come and how we might choose with wisdom.
I think the most important thing to remember about Thanksgiving is that it’s about…gratitude. I think the first helpful advice we can give to ourselves is to remember to keep coming back to gratitude. There is always, always, always something to be grateful for. Let’s focus on that. Keep coming back: gratitude. And again: Gratitude. Again: gratitude.
Another thing to consider is what are your favorite parts about Thanksgiving? What are the things that will change that you maybe don’t want to think about but should? How can we avoid getting stuck in the things we “can’t have”? How can we make this holiday of gratitude even more meaningful?
I don’t remember where I read this and I’m going to have to paraphrase: we are not missing stuff, we are missing connection and people. It’s going to be vital that we find ways to connect. This morning, I was walking and met a neighbor who is feeling really lonely and discouraged. How can we better support our neighbors? We may not be able to connect in ways we’d like to, but we can connect to our neighbors (I know you too have a similar neighbor in your neighborhood).
How can we not get caught up in focusing on stuff (stuff is often used to distract ourselves from what we are really missing) and focus on those connections? How do we make sure we connect with those important people who won’t be present with us on Thanksgiving. Maybe we take advantage of Zoom (gratitude: these times would be very different without Zoom and the like). Maybe we make a phone call (remember making a phone call and talking to people?, apparently we can still do that). Maybe we send an extra card…better yet, a letter. Maybe we could ask someone we love who’s not going to be with us for their favorite Thanksgiving recipe and make it as part of our dinner. When we eat this special treat, we can think of that person. Maybe we send out special prayers and well wishes to those we love and those who need.
Remember those in need and give. It always makes us feel better when we have something to give that someone else can use. Instead of focusing on what we’re missing, maybe focus on what we have that we could share. Maybe we make it a season of gratitude and giving.
So many options. I’ve given you some ideas. Perhaps you have some of your own (please feel free to comment and share your ideas). The point is to think about the holiday before it’s upon us and we get carried away in ways that don’t support us. The key is to plan ways that we can make this year even more special. This Thanksgiving can be even more meaningful and more special if we choose it to be so.
Focus: this is the season of Gratitude. What do we have to be grateful for?
PS: Don’t forget that we have a queen/king sized hand made quilt that is being raffled off by the Dorcas Group. Reach out if you would like to donate to our church ($2 each or 3 for $5) and be entered into the raffle.