“Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.” Those words penned by Barbara Johnson were my morning encouragement from a small devotional I keep at my work desk. God is so funny at times often giving me reminders like this when my days have been crazy and not going according to the plan I originally intended.
As I write this it is the day before Thanksgiving. So many thoughts of the busy week have crammed my brain that I wanted to put them to paper before I lost the concept. It seems that many are getting the jump on Thanksgiving; co-workers traveling for the holiday, loading up vehicles and leaving early or those expecting family so they take off early to plan and prepare. It is good to have that excitement, that anticipation as Charles Swindoll shares, “Hands down, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It highlights the home and family. It is synonymous with stuff that can be found only at home—early morning fussing around in the kitchen, kids and grandkids, long distance phone calls, holding hands and praying before that special meal.” He continues with “The meal, the memories, the music Thanksgiving brings have a way of blocking out the gaunt giant of selfishness and ushering in the sincere spirit of gratitude, love, and genuine joy.”
Well at least that’s what he wrote over 20 years ago, but that isn’t the mood I often see reflected today. In fact commercialism has so affected this beautiful holiday that Thanksgiving is often overlooked or many times completely ignored altogether. Halloween décor is soon replaced with Christmas paraphernalia. A day of reflection, counting blessings and sharing is overshadowed and overpowered by Black Fridays, Brown Thursdays. Get a head start on spending the money you don’t have on things you really don’t need in order to bolster the retail sales. How sad that people put up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving, so it’s just one thing out of the way in order to concentrate on shopping sales, scouting for bargains, waiting in lines and being exhausted. People literally bent out of shape.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not the hectic excursions (we’ve all been there). I’m talking about all of that to the extremes. Is it fun to search for the perfect gift; spend the day with family or girlfriends; laughing over a great discovery? Absolutely yes! But not too the excess or at the expense of your sanity. Do I sound like a scrooge? Am I being inflexible? Let’s get a little perspective here. Can we agree to have Thanksgiving first before we get into the spirit of Christmas?
I will look forward to traveling to my brother’s home; helping prepare the food; sharing conversations and laughter over dishes; watching a football game; catching up with great nephews and nieces. Those are moments I anticipate and treasure. Yes we will talk about Christmas, but not before we have counted our blessings and prayed our thank you’s to our Father. I will give Thanksgiving it’s due and cherish the day. And maybe on the drive home I’ll listen to some pre-Christmas music as I begin planning for the next season – and that will be… Advent. That’s the perfect opportunity to prepare my heart before celebrating Jesus’ birth. I love that time as much as I love Thanksgiving.
Blessings to you as you anticipate the wonders of each season that our Lord gives. Doneta
Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth Ps 105:5