A friend of 33 years said something that got me thinking a while back. He said, “I wish Christmas was more like Thanksgiving. Everyone gets together with family and friends… eats, talks, and tells stories… laughs, cries, and sings. No presents… no wrapping paper… no worrying about having spent money you don’t have. THAT is the kind of Christmas I’d like to have!”
I think my friend Rhett is on to something. The word “holiday” comes from the phrase “Holy Day.” Holy means set apart… to be different. Christians are told to glorify God in everything we do… which would include our conduct prior to and including Christmas Day (Phil 1:27a).
The older I get, the more I’m becoming introspective and choose to reflect. When I was younger, Christmas was all about me… what I would get, how much I would get, and when I would get it. But also looking back I remember more Thanksgivings than I do Christmases! I remember playing football with my cousins… tramping through the woods with them… eating… seeing family I hadn’t seen for a year.
I remember the food and fellowship of Thanksgiving more than I remember the presents I got at Christmas. I remember the smells and smiles at Thanksgiving more than tearing through paper to get to a present. I remember catching up on all that had been going on in the lives of my family members… cousins, aunts, uncles, granny & granna.
Thanksgiving was more about family and fellowship than presents and personal satisfaction. I could be wrong, but I think that is more what our faith would have us to be focused on at Christmas too.
Wouldn’t it be great if instead of doing Christmas the way it’s been every year, for as long as we can remember, to change it… at least in some small way this year? A few suggestions…
1. This year really do something that is totally for someone else WITHOUT spending one penny for a present.
2. This year sit around and tell stories. Relive fond memories of wonderful things that God has done.
3. Take some time to really thank God for our blessings. Be purposeful by naming the blessings… and don’t hold back.
4. Look your family in the eye and tell them you love them… one by one… and what your prayers are for them.
Just a few thoughts for making Christmas more like Thanksgiving. And oh… Thanks Rhett!