What If You’re Not Happy this Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving! Seems like everyone is saying it this week. The cashier at the supermarket, the mail carrier, the receptionist at the doctor’s office. Happy Thanksgiving!

But what if this Thanksgiving day is not a happy one for you?

You may have lost a loved one this year…and this is your first Thanksgiving without them.

You, or someone close to you, may have received a frightening diagnosis…and you’re wondering if this will be your last Thanksgiving with your family.

You may have lost your job, or you’re in the process of losing your home…and you wonder where you’ll spend next Thanksgiving.

The prospect of wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving, or in a few weeks, a merry Christmas, may be as appealing as an abscessed tooth.

Yet Thanksgiving – the attitude and the day – is not about itemizing what we have or don’t have. Rather, it begins with knowing that, as Christians, we belong to the one, true, living God because He has extended the gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. This is the source of our thankfulness, the seed from which our gratitude grows.

But what if your heavenly Father, never gave you another thing…never again answered yes to one of your prayers…never responded to another cry for help? What if the God of the universe seems to ignore your pleas for healing…or doesn’t restore that broken relationship…or doesn’t prevent your child from making a tragic choice? What if…your worst nightmare came true?

Would you and I cease to be thankful for who we belong to and what we do have, just because God doesn’t respond the way we think He should? Or will we trust His goodness and His sovereignty?

In our relationship with our heavenly Father, will we seek His hand or will we seek His heart? Our decision will determine whether or not we have a happy Thanksgiving.

What will you do this Thanksgiving?

Yikes! I’m Not Ready!

I’m never ready. Every year I turn the page on the calendar, and the holidays are suddenly staring me in the face. And every year I say the same thing: I’m not ready.

Why not? It’s not as if the holiday season is a surprise when it arrives. Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. Christmas is always the twenty-fifth of December. Still, I find myself scurrying to accomplish all the things that I’d planned to make the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays perfect.

Maybe that’s the problem. I want everything about the holidays to be perfect. I’ve watched all the holiday movies with their happy-ever-after endings. I’ve read the magazines with their picture-perfect spreads. I even cry at the Hallmark commercials.

Then I race around, trying to reproduce an ideal that isn’t real to begin with….
Decorations? Check.
Tree? Up.
Christmas cards? Mailed.
Cookies? Baked.
Gifts? Wrapped.

It’s about time I realized that the perfect Christmas holiday is over-rated, not to mention impossible to achieve. The trappings may be in place, but I end up missing the joy. My table might be laden with Christmas cookies, but my expectations remain unfulfilled. No matter how many magazines I read or movies I watch, something about my plans will fall short.

This year, I’m revising my expectations. This year I will focus less on what I want the season to be, and more on what it is…the celebration of the birth of God Incarnate. And I can’t think of a better way to kick off the season next week than to celebrate another holiday…one that reminds me to be thankful.

So bring on the holidays! I plan to savor each and every day of the “most wonderful time of the year.” Hope you’ll join me!

What are you doing differently this season?

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