Next week we will celebrate one of my favorite holidays. There are different beliefs about what the first Thanksgiving was really like, and many articles have been written to validate all of the different views. Honestly, it confuses my little brain. I have some more studying to do, I admit. However, the stories of fellowship, sharing, putting aside of differences and giving of thanks, both at the first Thanksgiving and throughout the years since the official designation of the national holiday are heart-warming and uplifting. This holiday is beautiful because of these things, and because it fosters in us a renewed sense of gratitude--if we let it.
How do our children view this holiday? Do they understand the meaning behind it? Do they know the true, politically incorrect account of the Pilgrims and why they came to this country? Is Thanksgiving a boring holiday for them? Is it a day filled with the stuffing of faces and clamoring about what they want for Christmas, or do they pause to reflect on their blessings and to think about how truly rich they are? Do we set the example?
I admit it. When I think of Thanksgiving, I'm guilty of immediately thinking of visiting with family and friends, all the scrumptious food I'll get to eat, and, oh, joy! that big, fat, bundle of Black Friday sales papers screaming for me to hurry through the pumpkin pie and dirty dishes so I can drool over the deals! There's nothing wrong with those things. Not at all. It's part of the fun! But, those things should never minimize the true purpose of the day. I need to pause and reflect, just as I want my children to do. Our focus and theirs should be on gratitude and true thankfulness, not on greed and gluttony. God help me!
This year we're trying some ideas to help in the area of not getting side-tracked from what Thanksgiving is all about. I've already mentioned the Thanksgiving Tree. I will also help my children explore these two websites, Scholastic and Plimoth.org for some fun ways to learn about the Pilgrims, their lifestyles, their voyage, and the severe difficulties they faced. (Neither of these sites is based on a biblical worldview, so I'll use caution, of course.) Last, but not least, we will think of and pray for those who are less fortunate than we are. Some of you may have volunteered at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter to help with a Thanksgiving meal there. I can only imagine how life-changing that would be. I hope to be able to do it someday!
So, go ahead and enjoy all that food. Devour those sales papers. Play games and visit with your family. But don't forget to keep the focus of the day on Thanksgiving! God deserves more thanks than we could ever give Him!
Jessica is a follower of Jesus Christ, the wife of an amazing husband, and the mother of four children who are the loves of her life. She is passionate about homeschooling, enjoys spending time with her family more than anything else, would rather buy a new book than new clothes, is always starting on a diet, and thinks that chocolate is the next-best medicine to laughter. Other than reading, her favorite hobbies are music, decorating, blogging, and making attempts at photography. She blogs about this, that, and the other at www.itsthelittlethings4.