Looking Back on Thanksgiving…and toward Christmas

Love it- hate it. That’s sort of how I felt about my thanksgiving meal this year. We had 15 special people squeezed into our kitchen. It was a mixture of family and close friends, and we surely had a feast! There was the 20-pound turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, peas, broccoli quiche, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce, I’m-probably-forgetting-something-else, and 6 pies! After we all ate, it seemed that the bowls piled high with food were hardly less full than before the meal began. As the saying goes, we could’ve fed an army! I kept thinking about how the meal was like God’s goodness and mercy–full and overflowing. Plenty. Unending. And we had the most special time of giving thanks that I can recall ever at a Thanksgiving feast. We sat around the living room, some of us on the floor, sharing how God has been good to us. One talked about God’s comfort after the loss of a sister. Another shared thankfulness for the limited amount of sight he still has. Everyone had something to share about God’s goodness.

Well, we ate turkey sandwiches that night, and the next night we had another Thanksgiving meal with the leftovers. And then those plastic containers in my fridge and those foil-covered pie plates really started to become a nuisance. Any other time I would’ve savored a piece of pumpkin pie or a bowl full of sausage stuffing. But I was tired of it. And I learned it wasn’t just me. At church on Sunday I heard friends talking about how tired they were of turkey. They wanted chili, fast-food, anything other than the leftover turkey that was screaming “Eat me!” from the fridge.

I hate wasting food, wasting money, wasting time, so the idea of wasting the leftover Thanksgiving bounty bothered me. I felt gluttonous. Like too much of a good thing had ruined that good thing. And I decided that less could, actually, be better when it comes to Thanksgiving food.

And I guess that’s a good way to explain my philosophy about Christmas gifts, too.

Many parents think that the best way to shower their kids with love during the Christmas season is to shower them with gifts. But I think that, often, the specialness behind each gift or gesture is lost when there is too much. Have you ever been to a birthday party where the birthday child opens gift after gift, tossing each one aside after merely a glance, ready to tackle the next one? He tosses the handmade card into the garbage, mistaking it for wrapping paper. And that old book from Grandma? Well, she tried to explain that it was actually his father’s favorite book as a child, the very one his father used to read, but Grandma couldn’t be heard over the clamor of kids and the hustle to open the next present. I’ve seen such things happen before and wanted to cry.

All this is to say, consider simplifying your Christmas shopping this year. Cherish the time with family and focus on the heart behind each gift. Our Saviour, Jesus, received three gifts, so maybe you’ll want to pattern your buying after the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that was given to Him. I read about one mother who gives her children one special toy (gold), one practical item, like a coat or clothing (frankincense), and tickets to an outing/ a certificate for lessons (myrrh). Not a bad idea, I think.

Have a merry Christmas! Enjoy the season as you worship the Saviour!

Published in: on November 28, 2007 at 9:21 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post, Addy. I totally agree on your Thanksgiving and Christmas sentiments. Jon and I spent hours and hours rethinking our christmas traditions last year and are looking forward to having a simple, meaningful holiday this year that makes us remember Christ.

  2. Addy, great challenge. I wish our kid’s grandparents would catch this attitude. Do you mind if I share this post with them? Craig and I are also trying to keep things simple.

  3. You’re welcome to share this article. I would just urge you to be light-hearted about it and be careful not to rob the grandparents of their joy. Tell them what your goals are with your kids, and then assure them that they’re free to use their best judgment as they help you teach your kids.

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