“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 ESV)
Thanksgiving is a special time of year for a lot of reasons. But one main reason is that it’s the launch of the holiday season. Just about everyone knows that when the turkey dinner is over the shopping season begins.
Thanksgiving is embedded with tradition for a lot of people. It can be very tough for some and very joyous for others. Many are dealing with grief and loss and the holiday is a reminder of who is not there to celebrate the family traditions that have long been a part of a family. For others it’s a joyous time of new and old traditions, possibly new family members and love mixed with sharing. Either way there are some things you can do to make the holiday your own, remember the love of God and warmth of sharing in the season.
People need the love of Christ more than ever during the holidays. If you are one of those that is struggling to get through the holiday let me share some ideas that may help your heart and family, as well as another person or family this season.
Sometimes the thing that we need the most is the thing we need to give away to someone else. Don’t be timid to reach out to others this season. You never know who really needs the love and fellowship during this time of year. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to do that because there is always someone hurting that needs a kind face or an act of love and kindness shown towards them.
Looking at some of the traditions of Thanksgiving brings back memories. People are usually in the kitchen cooking and laughing. There are children running around everywhere. The dad, who is the only one that cooks the turkey and slices it with his special knives. The mom and her sisters that make the best yams, greens, and cranberry sauce on the planet. Then there’s the aunt that has the best dinner rolls and starts the holiday shopping with all the sales. But we can’t forget the grandmother that has the best cornbread dressing and pies that everyone waited all year for.
But what if these traditions have changed? That special family member passed this year in death, a move across country, expenses or other circumstances changes the way it looks? How can you remember the holiday with love when you or some of your family members hurt so bad from a loss that you can barely cook a can of soup? How can you share your faith when you feel faithless this year due to loss or another situation? Here are few ideas:
Start a new tradition
There is nothing that says you and your family can’t start new traditions. Start a tradition of giving to someone in memory or honor of another person. Maybe start a new tradition that involves all the younger children that they can pass down as the years go by. Maybe new is what you need this year if you are in this place of angst over the holiday.
Invite a neighbor, church family or friend to dinner
Thanksgiving is great time to share that meal with a neighbor, friend, or church member. Maybe instead of cooking for just your family, why not cook the entire meal for someone else that can’t. I remember a time I cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal for a friend and took it to her and her children because she had just come out of the hospital and was recovering in bed. Get together with family and think about who you could share a meal with. There may be a widow in the church that will be experiencing the first holiday alone. Ask God what you can do and see how He invites you to show love this year.
Serve at a shelter or other venue that is serving the less fortunate
Take time this holiday and serve others less fortunate. Ask around at the local shelters and see what you and your entire family could do this year for them. See what needs they have and be a blessing to them. Maybe your church is serving dinner to the community. Maybe you can cook, serve, or greet people during this time. Maybe you could make food or dessert baskets. Serving is a great way to make the holiday more meaningful.
Sharing the love of God this season is what’s important. People remember what you do for them more than what you said to them. So, say it with sharing this year and let the love of Christ speak louder than anything.
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