My sister-in-law has chosen to put her Christmas things out. The tree stands in the window, twinkling, and her breakfast bar is all snowy-white, adorned by a Christmas Village. She can’t help it. We give her a bad time for it, too; it’s all part of sisterly love. She’s like a child who can’t wait to tear open the gifts of Christmas and sneaks down the stairs to open them early. I’m working on tearing open the gifts of Thanksgiving. We sort of forget that holiday every month.
Someone told me at Starbucks that Thanksgiving is the gift that doesn’t ask for anything in return. It gives and blesses. It’s the one time of year where we don’t offer anything tangible to each other except love. Perhaps that’s why it distresses me to see it overlooked. After Halloween stuff is taken down, Christmas items line the shelves at the stores. Hallmark offers Christmas movies. ABC Family has the same things and I wonder what happened to Thanksgiving.
On a more cynical note, maybe it’s because we live in a selfish society and Christmas means gifts—tangible gifts that we can hold, appreciate, and grow tired of later. We celebrate Santa Claus instead of Jesus Christ; or perhaps we ignore Santa Claus and think those that do not are not practicing Christianity the way it ought. Christmas becomes a war between believers; between believers and non-believers. Thanksgiving sits there quietly and serves.
It’s a table decked out once a year with more food than a family could devour and shadowed by memories both good and bad. I like to theme my meals in November to go with the Thanksgiving theme and I try to do the same with my attitude. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, my husband and I try to have a Thanksgiving meal together at home. I like to open the gifts of Thanksgiving all month. These gifts cannot be unwrapped, held or returned the day after, but a kind of gift that settles into my heart, growing me into how God wants me to grow, and introduces Christmas on a more gentle note when winter has settled in and the fall leaves are gone. Snow flakes drift from the perfect night sky and settle on my nose. That’s Thanksgiving—a gift you can’t buy. An experience that outlasts the food.
What is your Thanksgiving like? How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?