Welcome to the holiday season, friends.
It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and we are already in the throes of all things Christmas. Costco has had their decorations out since the week that school started. And with most other stores, as soon as Halloween had passed, Christmas came right in. Trees are going up, lights are being lit, and gifts are being wrapped.
I know I’m the unpopular one, and I’ll likely get called a Scrooge, but this drives me bonkers.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. Absolutely love it. I love the tree, the lights, the magic of the season. And as someone who loves Jesus, celebrating Him and His birth is my favorite part of the year.
But when did Christmas start happening in November? Aren’t we missing something?
It’s the one major holiday of the year that is focused completely on others. The one holiday where we are being grateful for what we have. And I feel like it’s being railroaded by a holiday that is meant to celebrate our loving, serving, humble King. Of course, this holiday has been taken over by the department store conglomerates and our culture has surrendered to the “must have more” mindset, so it’s no surprise that thankfulness has gone by the wayside.
If you’re like me, if you want to prepare and desire to leave space for this Thanksgiving time and not get lost in the madness of the Christmas season, here’s a few thoughts…
1) Take time each day for gratitude.
Whether this looks like a gratitude journal, a daily time of gratitude prayer, or some sort of activity with your kids, I can’t stress enough the power and importance of taking time each day to be thankful. One of the greatest ways to make the most of this Thanksgiving season is to be intentionally thankful. Don’t just let it pass until you are all sitting around the table at Thanksgiving dinner saying what you are thankful for. Prepare your heart and show your kiddos what living a life of gratitude looks like
2) Be intentional about serving.
A great way to be present in this season is to find ways to serve. There are usually ways to serve in your community around Thanksgiving, whether it is through your local food bank or other local ministries. Seek out family-friendly opportunities, even as simple as going and winterizing an elderly neighbor’s yard or planning to help a friend prepare their Thanksgiving meal. Letting your kids see you take an “others first” stance helps prepare their hearts to do the same thing!
3) Focus on family.
In the midst of all the busyness, take sweet time to be together as a family. Watch special movies, read special books, go on little day trips together. Make time for your family unit and create some special traditions. These times are the memory-makers for your kids, and get the ball rolling on being thankful within your family. Lower your expectations on these times looking “perfect”, and just enjoy each other.
Now please hear me, I have nothing against decorating or getting into the Christmas spirit early. But I urge you, friends, don’t let Thanksgiving just be a passing family dinner. In this world we live in, when there is so much to worry about and so much to weep over, this is a precious time to just simply be thankful.
Christmas will come, friends. And all of its magic and magnificence will not be diminished by putting some focus on gratitude in the season before. Take time to be thankful and I promise, your heart will be better for it.