Last year, I offered a list of “5 Things to Do on Thanksgiving Besides Eat Turkey.” Among the suggestions on the list were turkey trotting, trying out a new recipe and seeking out people to spend the day with. Several people commented that incorporating some of these ideas made their holiday more meaningful. With Thanksgiving a few days away, I thought I’d offer a few more suggestions.
1. Start a new tradition. I have always loved traditions. When I was single, traditions became especially meaningful because they seemed to anchor me. They gave me a sense of belonging. But when it comes to holidays, sometimes your routine needs a little shaking up.
Whether it’s making Grandma’s famous cinnamon rolls for breakfast, initiating a flag football game in the park, organizing a photo shoot of your family or directing nieces and nephews in a Thanksgiving pageant, add something new to your holiday.
2. Provide someone a meal. At my church, you can sign up to put together a Thanksgiving basket for a family in the community. Another church I know of has its members take shifts serving dinner at a downtown shelter. Still another church meets on Thanksgiving morning to deliver already prepared turkey dinners to needy families in town. Thanksgiving is a holiday that is centered around a meal, so it provides a great opportunity for the Body of Christ to meet the physical needs of people in their communities.
In addition, consider inviting someone to your Thanksgiving table who may not have a place to go. Before I was married, I remember a Thanksgiving where my plans fell through at the last minute, and I had nowhere to go. I was so grateful for the couple from my church who invited me and a few others over to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and a movie night.
3. Get your gratefulness on. Last year, I talked about how the thanksgiving part of Thanksgiving can sometimes get lost in all of the trappings of the day. Maybe it has been a hard season for you, and you’re not feeling very grateful. Even in the worst of times, there are still things you can thank God for. Consider the words of Psalm 118:1-4:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
This Thanksgiving, spend a few minutes reflecting on what God has done during the past year and thank Him for His steadfast love. It’s likely you’ll soon discover plenty to be thankful for.