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Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!
Years ago, an insightful friend wrote me a note with sweet words of insight. She encouraged me to not rush over/through Thanksgiving, as I looked ahead to Christmas. Ever since, I have tried to take her words to heart. Each year, I strive to grow in this endeavor.
My friend wisely suggested creating time specifically for mulling over true thankfulness, and allowing God’s peace to fill my heart and home. She recommended avoiding the “Black Friday” (Day after Thanksgiving) sales (even before we knew about “Buy Nothing Day“), and using that day to extend a sense of thanksgiving. It perhaps might include curling up with a cup of tea and a book or Bible, or savoring a walk in the brisk, cool air and offering up prayers of worship or humming a chorus of “We Are So Blessed.”
We have much to be thankful for, and yet it seems that we rarely consciously choose to dwell in thankfulness. Our society tends to choose an extreme commercial emphasis on holidays. I noticed how I have been a bit “sheltered” from this, when I stepped into a local supermarket to mail a package at the postal counter earlier this fall. I was suddenly inundated by a “culture shock” feeling, as I was surrounded by a bizarre assortment of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas-themed merchandise. There was certainly no sense of treasuring special seasons.
Over the years, I have waited to set up Christmas decorations until we are in the midst of Advent, as I allow the seasons to meld together gradually. I also allow time for focusing on treasured family relationships, by celebrating the birthday of my daughter, as well as my own, in simple ways during the month of December. It is a truly festive time of year, and yet I seek to keep it uncluttered (physically and spiritually). I take time to appreciate my husband on our anniversary, while continuing our “Christmas season” on through Epiphany. (What a glorious way to enter the new year!)
Creating a thankful atmosphere in my home establishes a precious foundation as we enter the glorious celebration of our Savior’s birth. This time can be easily shadowed with busyness, social obligations, and consumerism, and it can take concerted effort to step aside.
As I begin crafting gifts, favorite holiday foods, and signing Christmas cards, I attempt to express my joy in the God’s precious gift of His Son. I want to cling to the overwhelming sense of peace and awe this season brings; not be overwhelmed by a “to do” list.
Each year, as God gradually molds my heart and attitudes, my routines develop organically in new ways. There is often a “paring down” in some areas, while at other times, we add something new to savor, as we emphasize our awareness of His hand in our lives. I look forward to sharing elements of our holidays with you, and hearing of your own traditions!
Overall, I want my life to be completely in God’s hands. This is such an incredible time of year for worshiping and expressing my thankfulness to Him, as I desire to be simply His.