The best Thanksgiving season is filled with words of encouragement, words of thankfulness, and words of kindness.
by Lynette Hagin
This month, the United States of America celebrates a holiday which almost no other nation observes—Thanksgiving Day. Originally, it was a time set aside by our forefathers to give thanks to God for bringing them through a critical year. Today, Thanksgiving means different things to different people.
To some people, Thanksgiving is just another day off work. For others, it’s a chance to get together with friends and family. Thanksgiving has always been very important in our family. For us, it is a time to celebrate together and reflect back on the goodness of the Lord.
During a usual Thanksgiving, I spend most of the day in the kitchen preparing my family’s favorite foods. With all that I have to do, it would be easy for me to get stressed out about the day rather than be thankful for it! In order to have the entire menu ready on time, I have to wake up very early in the morning to prepare the foods. You probably know that early morning is not my favorite time of day! The fact that I must rise so early could start my day out wrong. But instead of getting stressed, I spend that time alone in the kitchen giving thanks to the Lord for His goodness.
Psalms 107:22 says, “Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy” (NIV). As I begin to offer praise to the Heavenly Father, the joy of the Lord becomes my strength—strength to survive the tasks of the day. Instead of dreading all that Thanksgiving Day entails for me, as I praise the Lord, the day becomes one of my favorite times of the year.
If you are responsible for preparing the meal for Thanksgiving Day, let me give you a few practical tips that may help relieve the time crunch. I owe these tips to my mother; she has always been a wonder at preparing a delicious meal and a beautifully set table. She always organized her cooking in such a way that each item of food was ready at the exact same time, making for a wonderfully hot meal.
First I decide what I am going to serve on Thanksgiving Day, and I write the menu down on paper. I then locate all the recipes necessary for the selected items. Then I begin to prepare my grocery list according to the recipes. If possible, I do my grocery shopping a week in advance. (I like to make my own pie crusts. These can be made ahead of time and frozen, thus saving time the week of the holiday.)
I always like to make Thanksgiving dinner a formal occasion, so we eat in the dining room, using the china and best serving dishes. One way I save time and effort is by setting the table on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, I prepare any food that can be prepared ahead of time. The night before Thanksgiving, I write a to-do list for the next day, listing the tasks in the order that I will complete them on Thanksgiving morning.
My list will look something like this:
- Put turkey in oven.
- Make pumpkin pie.
- Make chocolate pie.
- Put giblets on to cook.
- Boil eggs.
- Mix dressing.
You get the idea. I have found that on the morning of any big event, I do not have time to think about what I need to do. By committing the list to paper the night before, I am able to carry out my duties without being concerned about forgetting something.
I encourage you to make this year’s Thanksgiving Day a time to reflect on the positive things about your family. So often we concentrate on what our spouse, children, or parents are not doing right instead of what they are doing right. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (NIV).
Edifying words go a long way. My greatest reward for all the work I devote to Thanksgiving Day comes when my husband and children eat a hearty meal and then tell me how wonderful the food is. That makes my day and makes all of the hard work worth it. So this Thanksgiving season, I encourage you to build others up with words of encouragement, words of thankfulness, and words of kindness.
I also encourage you to make thanksgiving a way of life. When others comment about you, may it be said, “She always had a positive word to say about everything and everyone.”