Howdy! How’s everyone doing? Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? LOL. Are you ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow? Yeah, me too. I still have some things to finish up, but I’ll be ready to spend time with my family. I’ve been gone a lot, and am fixing to move out-of-state, so I need to savor and enjoy this Thanksgiving! I remember Thanksgiving when I was little though, and the huge family gatherings it started off. But sometimes, holidays seem to bring out the worst in family relationships. Maybe this is the year for you to begin to reverse that trend. Think about it… there’s always the one with the inappropriate jokes and comments. There’s always the drama queen/king. There’s the brother who has to be right on every single topic; the cousin who knows everything about everything. There’s that niece dating that horrible guy she drags along. The uncle who just has to start a political debate/argument. There may be a child who has moved away and can’t be there for the holiday dinner. Maybe there’s a recent widow or victim of divorce. Someone is always tying to out-do everyone else; someone probably is between jobs. We may have someone in the military overseas. Someone may be struggling with a terminal disease. This may be the first year that great-grandma isn’t well enough to leave her assisted living apartment to join us. We may have lost some loved ones during the year, and we keenly feel the hole that’s left. Whatever the situation is, we all have them. We all deal with them, and more often than we like to admit, we all moan and groan about them. I have a better idea. Let’s shoot them. Really. Just shoot them.
No, not with a physical weapon! Are you crazy? Let’s shoot them with arrow prayers. If they say something that hurts us, let’s shoot up a prayer of forgiveness on the spot. If they are argumentative, let’s shoot up an arrow prayer of peace. If they have ‘that’ person with them, let’s pray to see the good in ‘that’ person. If they obviously lack good judgment, let’s pray for their wisdom and discernment. If they’re addicted, let’s pray for clarity and release from it. If they are the drama person, they likely need attention because they don’t feel good about themselves. Let’s pray for them to feel the love of the people around them and God’s love. If they can’t be with us due to illness, let’s shoot up a prayer for healing and comfort. If they are stuck miles away from their family and home, let’s pray that they feel close to us somehow, and maybe call them if we can. Then let’s pray that we are the person who can show all of them the love of Jesus.
We’ve had a couple of great Thanksgiving traditions. One is the Blessing Tree. On a couple of sheets of blue poster board, one of my daughters drew a tree without leaves. Then we cut out leaves of various shapes and sizes from different colored construction paper in oranges and yellows. Every time someone came in the door, they got to write on a leaf, which was then taped to the tree. By Thanksgiving, we had a beautiful ‘tree’ to remind us of all our blessings.
Another thing is on social media – “Thanksvember”. We post something every day of November (or you could do this in December, too!) that we are thankful for.
At our Thanksgiving dinner, we go around the table and mention something we are thankful for. It seems everyone mentions family, so I propose that we mention family and _____. Make it more personal, more real.
While we’re at it, what to do with all those leftovers? Let’s make up some plates to take to those who live fairly close by, but couldn’t be with us. A few families celebrate an extra day with “Leftover Day” on Friday. Someone makes noodles or something to go with leftover turkey, and we feast again.
We’ll be talking more about Christmas in a day or two, but to alleviate the stress there, let’s focus on the reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ – and not as much on the commercial, give-me mentality of our society. I was heartbroken to hear a commercial using the phrase, “Thanks-give-me”. The peace is in the Savior. Not the ‘stuff’.
However you celebrate, be sure to keep it stress free. The best antidote to shoot down stress is prayer. So, fill up your quiver, grab your bow, and let’s start shooting!