I was all in favor of using cute paper plates with fall leaves printed on them. I was all in favor of finding some plastic cups in a harvest gold color. I was all in favor of disposable utensils. I was all in favor of premade gravy and a turkey that had already been deboned and smoked and was ready to be sliced.
My third child, my oldest son Justus, wasn’t having it. At all.
He was about fifteen at the time. He couldn’t be bothered to clean his room. He wasn’t all that up to date on his laundry. He preferred every form of pre-packaged, microwavable form of junk food available in the Sam’s freezer section.
But when it came to Thanksgiving, he wanted no shortcuts.
It had been a hectic year, a very busy fall. I thought I would make Turkey Day ever so much easier by going all disposable and ready-made wherever I could. The rest of the family was fine with it.
Justus was not.
This post is sponsored by Compassion International.
“No. No way, nope. We’ve got to do it for real. It’s my favorite holiday!”
And then, he told me this.
“I’ll take care of it. I’ll put out the china. I’ll hand wash it all. I’ll do the cloth napkins and I’ll iron them and I’ll dust out the crystal. You don’t have to worry about it, but please don’t let me not do it. I want to. It’s Thanksgiving. And it’s important to me.”
You could have knocked me down.
I took him up on his offer. Trepidatiously. I figured he would bail when he fully realized just what all a full-on Thanksgiving meant.
But he didn’t.
He ironed. He polished. He put together everything with such care and intention. It left me time to make all the homemade dishes that were also so important to him.
And it taught me something.
There is a time and place to make things easier on yourself. Absolutely. And there may be a Thanksgiving one of these days that I go paper and premade and disposable and I can do it with a clean conscience.
But, for Justus, true Thanksgiving is a team sport. It’s something that is important enough to him to contribute. He’s going to turn 22 the week of Thanksgiving this year, and he’s already made his plans to come in to town from college and to help with all those details that make Thanksgiving genuine to him.
And there’s another thing my family does to make our Thanksgiving genuine.
We sponsor a child in Uganda. Because we believe that Thanksgiving, true Thanksgiving has a response. Yes, saying we are thankful for God’s blessings is important. But true Thanksgiving, both in the tradition of how the holiday was started and in what the word itself means, true Thanksgiving is a giving back in response to how we’ve been blessed.
It’s been such an honor this year have Compassion International onboard as part of The Modern Motherhood Podcast here at All Mom Does. Their team is amazing, their mission transformational in lives of children in need. So many of you have answered the call with Compassion, and have sponsored a child. Thank you. Thank you so much. That is Thanksgiving in action. And now, as we come into the last part of the year, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving season, I want to lovingly challenge the rest of you. Whether ‘real’ Thanksgiving to you is a particular set of china or a homemade dish or a secret family recipe, whatever that is, I challenge you to make your Thanksgiving even more real by giving it a response. For just over a dollar a day, you can share the blessings you’ve been given with a child in need. You can provide health, education, and spiritual care to that child and help resource their community. You can be a channel of blessing that brings thanksgiving to that child and their family.
So truly celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Make it a response. And may the heart of Thanksgiving not just stop at your table, but may it spread to another corner of the world where a child is waiting for you.
Go to compassion.com/allmomdoes to sponsor a child today.