Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reflections on Thanksgiving

I have a confession to make. I don’t really like turkey, stuffing is not that exciting to me, and personally I find pumpkin pie to be gross. Even though I don’t really enjoy the traditional menu of Thanksgiving, I love the holiday itself. I love being with my family and other folks to spend time in fellowship, relaxing and enjoying a festive meal. I also like the time to focus on our blessings and to give thanks.

As a Christian, I know that being grateful for my blessings and giving thanks to God is an important part of my relationship with my Creator and is critical to my own spiritual development. But even if one takes a more secular approach to the holiday, psychologists have been telling us for years that people, who are cognizant of and grateful for the good things in their lives, tend to be happier and more resilient than the rest of the population.

When our family still lived in Texas, Thanksgiving was sometimes sort of stressful to me. In large part it was because neither my husband nor I are particularly adept at the culinary arts. Despite this gap in our skill set, we often hosted many different groups of relatives on Thanksgiving. They were coming from different parts of the large state, so they often arrived and left at very different times. That made it hard to time the meal. And invariably folks would try to visit with me while I was cooking, but I frankly cannot walk and chew gum. So, I’d end up leaving out the baking powder when making biscuits, losing count with respect to how many cups of sugar I had added to the cranberries, or I’d forget to set the timer for the pies.

Despite these stresses, I loved having our many different relatives come together to share the special day. It made me so glad that despite our differences in political affiliation, education, taste in music, and theological belief, we all came together to enjoy each other’s company. Heck, even my mom and dad (who have been divorced for 30+ years) shared the holiday together at our home on many occasions. I was always so proud that they and their spouses fellowshipped together. No pettiness. They came together for the sake of the rest of us. Amazingly, my parents and their spouses actually seemed to even enjoy visiting with one another. Coming together despite differences. That is what family values are all about in my opinion.

1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

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