Much has been written in recent weeks about people who are dreading—or even avoiding altogether—the holidays because of the political strife that has been swirling all around us. It’s understandable, to an extent. I hail from a politically mixed family and know that holidays can be trying, especially in times of social and political unrest. I vowed early in this election cycle—when it started to become apparent that people were letting political differences interfere with their relationships—that I wanted to put friendships and people before politics. No politician or political party is worth losing someone I care about. Elections come and go. At just past the half-century mark in my life, I have no desire to start over with all new friends (and family, I’m stuck with), so it’s in my best interest to preserve the ones I have.
Last year I caught a glimpse of this on Facebook (source):
Ouch. My parents are in their late 70s and early 80s and I don’t spend enough time with them, even though they live less than an hour away. I don’t want to do the math on that, but I do want to make the most of every opportunity I have with them—and every conversation.
While we can’t control what other people do on Thanksgiving (I’m sorry if you have that uncle who won’t shut up about Trump or a cousin who keeps going on and on about Hillary), but we can choose what flows from our own lips. We can exhibit hearts of gratitude for the people around us—and for the many other blessings we enjoy—and make every effort to draw people into conversations that go in a positive direction.
To help you out, Crossway has a fabulous list of questions to ask around your Thanksgiving table this year:
- What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
- What’s the happiest Thanksgiving memory of your childhood?
- What do you enjoy most about the Thanksgiving holiday?
- Who is the most consistently grateful person you know?
- What’s the one experience for which you are most thankful this year?
- What’s the one book, article, or blog post for which you are most thankful this year?
- What’s the one thing you’ve learned this year for which you are most thankful?
- If you could thank one person today—near or far, living or dead—for their influence on your life, who would that person be?
- Who’s one person you’ve never thanked for their contribution to your life, but would like to?
- For what do you feel most grateful to God today?
See my answers on the next page. Here are my answers:
- Turkey skin (don’t judge me)
- Playing in the “crick” on Thanksgiving with my cousin Lori at my grandma’s house in Mayard, Ohio, growing up
- Turkey skin
- My husband and I discussed this at length and we each said we felt like the most grateful people we know, but agreed that other people probably don’t see that in our lives because we complain too much. We feel grateful but don’t don’t show it enough.
- My job. I get to edit amazing writers, write to readers who care passionately about our country and their families, and work with incredibly brilliant and talented people.
- Andrew Klavan’s The Great Good Thing
- That God is more faithful than I’d ever imagined and I am completely dependent on him, not only for every breath I take, but for every good thing that comes out of me.
- My grandmother who died in 1982. She faithfully took me to church as a child, prayed for me, and planted the seeds of faith in my life.
- My amazing and beloved sons, Ryan and Kyle. I don’t think I’ve actually said those words to them, but I ought to. And I don’t thank Gary, my unbelievably patient and loving husband, whom I don’t deserve, enough.
- God’s love and mercy. I don’t deserve either on account of my rebellious heart and actions, but he lavishes it on me anyway.
I’d love to hear your answers to these thought-provoking questions. Would you be kind enough to share in the comments section?
Wishing you a very blessed Thanksgiving, filled with love and gratitude!
“Address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20