I am in uncharted territory right now. I am *not* cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Actually, this is not totally uncharted territory, I guess, as we opted to go out to eat one other time about five years ago when a lot of other things were happening in our family. But, it just feels quite different this time, since we are doing this more by our choice and not by necessity. Plus, I think I should admit that I’m feeling a little unappreciated right now as well. It has just been a tough year as far as some local family relationships are concerned in a couple of respects. I actually miss the cooking that I normally would be doing this week, but at least for this year, I am also enjoying some other preparations right now, as we have decided to head out-of-town to go camping on Thanksgiving afternoon for a few days once again. We did this last year after I cooked our big feast for lunch, and it was a real treat for us.
I have also been focusing on my own “attitude of gratitude” even more this year, as I have mentioned here in earlier posts. As I contemplate on how to really be thankful, the thought of sitting around with a few other family members and watching football and perusing Black Friday ads for hours on Thanksgiving afternoon just isn’t sitting well with me. For me, Thanksgiving has almost eroded into a pre-Christmas shopping feast that has little resemblance to our celebrations decades ago where we got together for a big extended family celebration and spent time playing games together and really enjoyed each other’s company. I’ve made a couple of attempts to turn the TV off, but it just has not worked. Frankly, I’m just pretty tired of it all, to be honest. I’m wondering if this also resonates with anyone else these days.
Last year, getting away to a remote state park really did the trick for me as far as enjoying Thanksgiving and having time to relax and really count my many blessings. Just getting out in nature helps, for sure, but completely getting out of that old routine of football games and Black Friday ads really helped most of all. It’s like we made a conscious choice to give that up to honor God and take some time to really be thankful, and it did so much for my soul. It also helped me to get in a better frame of mind to keep the Christmas holiday in a proper perspective as well. I don’t think we would have to get away to do this either if we could just turn the TV off and do some things together instead, but that just has not happened and likely will not happen, unfortunately.
I am so very blessed, and it seems appropriate to take some quality time to acknowledge these blessings at Thanksgiving. I will also begin anew my daily gratitude list for the next year, since for me, Thanksgiving is also a wrap-up time to summarize my year of personal Thanksgiving that I’ve done in a smaller way each day, and for me, that is really something to celebrate.
Here are my Three Little Thankfuls for today.
— Freshness in the air after a wonderful and unexpected rain shower
— A perfect cup of hazelnut coffee this morning
— Black-eyed peas that I put up fresh in the summer that are now cooking on my stove
Feel free to chime in with your own Three Little Thankfuls, if you would like, too.
I am certainly looking forward to enjoying a good meal (cooked by someone else) with some family members at lunch on Thanksgiving, and we will certainly be thinking of and praying for those that are not as fortunate this year, especially those impacted by Hurricane Sandy in the northeast. I will also continue in prayer for the restoration of family relationships that have suffered this past year, both for us and some other family members.
I wish for your, dear readers, a most blessed and happy Thanksgiving, and I invite you to begin a full-year of sincerely counting your own blessings each day, too. If you would like a good book to help you get started, I highly recommend One Thousand Gifts from Ann Voskamp.
Evening update: Once again, God has spoken to my heart, as I read the following passage tonight.
“We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. Because how else do we accept His free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace.”
― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Ar
Tuesday morning update: This article just came out this morning in the NY Post, by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, an excellent read.