We all have different feelings about Thanksgiving.
For some of you, Thanksgiving means you’re going home, and home is a good thing. You’ve moved away from your family so you’re thankful for this opportunity to spend time with them. For others, Thanksgiving means you’re going home, and home is a sad thing. You’ve tried to escape your family. Now, you’re forced to confront the frustrations that come with being with them for an extended period of time.
For some of you, Thanksgiving is a welcomed break from work before the craziness of the holiday season starts. For others, it’s the official beginning of your busiest season of work. You dread working overtime, dealing with rude customers, and constantly restocking items for people to consume.
For some of you, this is your first Thanksgiving with a new spouse or a new baby. Your family is growing, and it’s an opportunity to start new traditions and be thankful for the gifts you’ve been given. For others, Thanksgiving is the stark reminder that you’re still single or that you don’t have a child in your arms. It’s a reminder of the things you don’t have that you’ve hoped for and prayed for your entire life.
For some of you, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for your friend or family member who is coming home after serving in the military overseas. For others, Thanksgiving reminds you how much you miss the one you’ve lost. The empty seat at the table is a harsh reminder of the space that person used to fill.
Regardless of what emotions move into our hearts and minds as we approach Thanksgiving, I wonder what it would be like if we approached this Thanksgiving like it was our last.
Even though that one relative drives you crazy, this might be the last Thanksgiving before they receive a life-altering diagnosis.
If you knew this was the last Thanksgiving you were working in a retail environment, how would you approach this one differently?
Even though you’re ready to have someone by your side, this might be your last Thanksgiving with the freedom of a single person. How would you spend your time differently?
Even though you’re exhausted after Thanksgiving with small children—fixing plates, wiping messy faces, and skipping naptimes—one day, your kids will be grown, and things will look different. How can you enjoy this Thanksgiving in the midst of the chaos?
I am not naive enough to pretend that Thanksgiving, or the holiday season overall, is an enjoyable time for everybody. If we knew it was our last time with someone or that Thanksgiving would look different next year, would we stop and be a little more thankful?
My hope for me, and for you, is that we’ll look at this holiday a little differently and stop to be thankful. You never know when it might be the last time.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
– I Thessalonians 5:18, ESV