Thanksgiving is upon us! Can you believe that? For many that will mean holiday traditions, decorating, special meals, and family time. As moms, we work especially hard to make this time of year special for our families. Like many, it is my very favorite time of the year!
I am so very grateful for my own husband and children. We have worked hard, with the help of God, to develop a strong, tight-knit family. We have our own little ways of doing things and our own traditions. I wouldn’t want to be without them. But I think there can be some potential dangers when our family becomes the main focus.
I know that God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy,” (1Timothy 6), but I am also very aware of the fact that life is not all about my enjoyment. I want there to be a balance. I want to remember that there is a bigger picture. A much bigger plan. In light of the gospel, I don’t think that holidays should revolve entirely around making everything “just so” for my own family. Like any other day, we should see the holidays as an opportunity for us to serve and lay down our lives for others.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
The big beautiful meals, the decorations, the traditions, dressing up, and well ironed tablecloths are all good things, but they are the “extras.” There are bigger, life-changing, more important things than holiday traditions such as:
- A peaceful home that lets God set the pace.
- A relaxed atmosphere that allows God to change our plans.
- Being flexible enough to always have room for one more at the table.
- A mom that doesn’t melt down if the sweet potatoes fall on the floor. (Yes, that happened one year! We laughed, scraped them off the floor, and ate them anyway!)
- People always welcomed, embraced, loved … even the hard to love people.
- Finding people who have nowhere to go and making them part of the family.
- Overlooking an offense, assuming the best of others.
- Being others focused, and not holding too tightly to traditions.
When we are living life with people and celebrating people every day, it becomes a natural thing to include others into our lives on both regular days and on holidays. It helps to remember that although our family is important, it isn’t something meant for us to keep to ourselves. Moms, God wants to use your family to further His Kingdom, and as a platform to show His grace.
Application: Sit down with your family and pray about how you can be others-oriented during this Thanksgiving season. Is there someone you know who might be blessed by an invitation to your home? When you set the table for the big meal, set one extra place setting at the table, and then take time to pray as a family that God would fill that seat with whomever He wants to fill it. (Maybe someone who needs to hear the gospel!) Give each family member a job to do that will help the day go smoothly, and will make it easier for everyone to focus on the people who are in your home, rather than only the meal that is being served.