“Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.”
Todd Stocker

30906803565_5cfc59cd93Photo Credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)

Having turkey at our house has become a tradition over the years, this one being no different as we anticipate roughly twenty-five family members. We are blessed with a floor plan that includes kitchen, dining, and living room space in one open flow. When we moved into our home nine years ago we also intentionally bought a dining room table that seats fifteen when fully extended. It makes sense to gather and indulge here.

Anyone who’s read my book knows, however, that tradition can slip into “tribal belief” (the “way it’s always done”) if careless, and “tribal beliefs” can influence decision making in a negative way. As I approach the big day on my November calendar, I can feel my insides pulsate between choosing “tribal belief” and a Thanksgiving that will truly bless me and my family once the day is over.

How about you?

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year?

What has been your thought process in the last few days?

What are you choosing to focus on?

I’ll be completely honest, I’ve thought more about decorations, food preparation/menu, what needs to be cleaned, and even what I might wear more than who is coming, and why we will actually gather!

My #1 tip might end up disappointing some, because if you’re reading this, and anything like me, I’d want a tip about efficient meal planning, or “prep ahead of time ideas” along with the date and time to do them.

What I’d really want you to tell me is how I can make the day perfect because I’d like to appear impressive to my guests. Like I said, I’m being completely honest.

But this morning I chose something different. I made one little choice that will make the biggest difference in the outcome of my Thanksgiving this year.

I prayed.

That’s my #1 tip for a stress free day.

What difference will this decision make?

As I sit before my Almighty God I will recognize my own glaring imperfection. That realization will cause me to marvel at a God who chooses to be in relationship with someone as imperfect as me. Focusing on the relationship will drive me to ask my God for help, because I can’t figure out how to be thankful, and organized, and fully present with others at the same time. That will cause me to think and pray for our guests, and I’ll forget about planning and perfection.

Sure, at some point (soon, if I want it to defrost), I’ll need to purchase the bird and set the table, but in the process I’ll be thankful. That’s the whole point, right?

Like Todd Stocker’s quotes so aptly states–thankfulness leads to gratitude, which will find me content, and ultimately at peace.

At peace in what? My imperfection in relationship with my perfect God. Then imperfect me can lift my head from the preparations to find the eyes of my imperfect guests and we can be thankful together.

How can you begin preparing for Thanksgiving?

You can pray. The entire purpose and outcome of this year’s holiday will be the result of those prayers.