Well, here we are. The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun. The turkeys have been flying off the shelves (though thankfully not literally) the past few days, and will continue to do so in preparation for the big day. Kids are off school, or will be soon, and fall is here – even in South Texas. Yesterday when we ran a couple errands, Becca was in awe of the yellow and orange and brown leaves that have suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Fall is no longer just on a television show. It’s real. And after watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” with her, I’m reminded to make sure she realizes that Thanksgiving is real, too – and it’s not just a meal around a table with family we haven’t seen in a long time. And it’s not about the Christmas presents she’ll get to open with my family on the very same day.
Thanksgiving is an attitude. It’s real. It’s tangible. It’s something we should be doing every day. But somehow, for many of us, it gets secluded to a single day in November that is overrun by Christmas preparations and shopping. We’re so busy getting ready for Christmas (starting in October!) that Thanksgiving gets shoved further and further to the back burner.
I know all about back burners. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that right now, for me, blogging is on the back burner. Because so many other things are about to boil over… so I gotta have something on “simmer” in the back. I love blogging. And I’m hoping for lots more time for it soon. (I won’t be quitting, don’t worry.) But seriously… it seems like Thanksgiving is stuck somewhere in a little simmering saucepan with Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. They used to be big… and then over time, it’s enough to be patriotic on 4th of July, and to say “thanks” to God for His blessings half-heartedly before dinner each night (if then).
It’s time to get ready, folks. To get ready for our world of the future… If we spend so much time getting ready for Christmas presents that will spoil our already spoiled children that we forget about the importance of a day to stop and thank God for the freedoms we have in this country, and for the fact that some crazy hard-headed people left tyranny behind to start a new life in a new “world,” we’re going to find a generation of children who are so focused on themselves that they don’t even know what being thankful is.
So how do you not lose Thanksgiving in the shuffle? How do you not lose your kids to the commercial idea of decoration and sparkle and packages full of fun things? I don’t have it all figured out. I really don’t. But I think it begins in our own hearts. I think we have to get ready to be real with our kids. To tell them what things WE are thankful for – every day. And to show them that it’s not just STUFF we are thankful for, but PEOPLE and IDEAS (insert your lesson about the pilgrims and American freedom here) that are top on our lists.
I’m all about Christmas. Heck, I worked super super hard to try and get our advent calendar finished this weekend so that I could post it here early for you. Ya know what, it’s not gonna happen. It’s gonna be fabulous when it’s done, and yes, I’ll share, but right now, this week, the focus is gonna be on Thanksgiving. Because it’s time to start getting ready. And this week despite all of it’s craziness, is gonna be all about being thankful – and then carrying that attitude beyond this week so that by the time a month from now rolls around (seriously, ya’ll… today is a month til Christmas Eve!), all that stuff under the tree won’t just be boxes and paper to rip into, but there will be a realization that inside each box is a specially selected gift that the giver has spent money and time and thought on purchasing. No, I don’t expect my two year old to say “thank you” to each giver after she opens a present. Not all on her own. But I will remind her to say thank you for all of her presents after opening. And we will write thank you notes. And I will remind her as she plays with things, who got them for her.
Because I’m getting her ready. Preparing this little girl for the big wide world that is SO much bigger than lil old her. The world doesn’t revolve around her – it has many, many gears that all intertwine together. She needs to begin to realize that she is just one of them – and that God has placed her where He has placed her for a reason – to impact the lives of many people. NOT to focus on herself and what she wants and what she thinks she needs.
How will you get ready THIS WEEK to start building thoughtful, thankful children? And how will you carry that thoughtfulness and that thankfulness through the Christmas season?