Every year, the Christmas season seems to start earlier and earlier. This year, it seemed to me that the whole world skipped straight from Halloween to Christmas, with stores decking their halls and cranking up the carols just as they were taking down the pumpkins and putting away the candy. No one bothered much with the fact that we have another major holiday to celebrate first and almost a whole month before the unofficial start of the Christmas season. Yet more than ever, I feel like I–and maybe all of us–need Thanksgiving.
Life doesn’t always happen on our schedule. Some pretty awful things may be happening even though it is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” I think of those who are praying for a cure for a sick child, a cure that isn’t anywhere in sight. I ache for those who will set a holiday table for one less this year because they recently lost a loved one. I think of those who divorced this year, who will spend the holiday without their kids for the first time. I worry for those who love someone in failing health and wonder if this will be their last holiday together. I hope for solutions to those facing the paralyzing fear of an unexpected job loss or other financial adversity. Maybe most of all, my heart is heavy over the violence that seems to strike the cities and people that we care about weekly, sometimes daily.
While many people are ready to decorate, bake, shop, wrap and then shop some more, I don’t think I am alone in not feeling joyful, merry, or bright. The glittery busy-ness of the season has lost its appeal. I’m not sure that I want that back, but what I do want is to feel the joy and peace of the season. That is why we need thanksgiving. Not Thanksgiving – the one where we eat enough salt and sugar for a week, complain about our annoying relatives, and push over a fellow shopper to get the best deal on an X-Box.
No, a giving of thanks. When sadness, worry, defeat, loneliness, frustration, or fear are overwhelming, gratitude is the best remedy.
So, for me this will be a month of thanks giving. Before we put up the lights, before we wrap the gifts, before we bake the cookies – we will give thanks. I need reminders that despite all that is not right with the world, there are so many things that are right in my world. I think we need Thanksgiving because in giving thanks, we reveal all the reasons to celebrate the hope and joy of Christmas.
Will you join me in making a list of all we are grateful for, so that we may look back at it as a reminder when we need it? Feel free to add your thanks giving in the comments… I would love to read them!
I am grateful for…
- Family. Children who are thoughtful and generous, parents who taught me the importance of hard work and family, friends who are family, and a husband who doesn’t just help out, but is a partner in parenting and who makes me laugh. -Tara
- Contentment. The moments may be fleeting and when I feel it, it is often in times when I least expect it, but the peace that surrounds me in those moments is a gift. -Sarah
- Laughter. It calms chaos, heals hurts, and turns angry words into apologies. When we are frazzled and our joy is wearing thin, laughter reminds us of all that is good and right in the world. -Casey
- My kiddos sweet hugs and kisses that they lavish on me…even on days where I’m not very lovable. -Laura
- My family. Our ability as humans to be resilient and to foster hope for the future. -Jamie
- Hugs and I love yous. They always make anything better:). -Claire
- Friends. Old, new, near or far…I am thankful they are part of my life! -Allison
- A healthy baby, sweet dog, and wonderful husband. -Courtney
- My iPhone. It captures the many moments and memories of my girls changing and growing that I’m so fearful of forgetting. -Lilly
- Good days, happy giggles, warm weather in November, family that helps with yard work, FaceTime, and chocolate. -Samantha
- Opportunity. I am beyond grateful for every single one that comes my way. -Emily
- Friends. It’s special knowing you have people around you that support and encourage daily. -Amy
- Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter. FOR REALS. -Jesika
- My supportive husband, healthy children and loving family and friends -Andrea
- An amazing partner and best friend in my husband! I didn’t even think a love like that could be real until I met him. Wouldn’t trade my little family for the world! -Courtney