The kids are out of school, and the hubby has the day off work. There are parades to watch on television, newspaper ads to look through, and cozy blankets to snuggle up with. Everyone has a day off to lounge around and enjoy a break from the ordinary. Thanksgiving is such nice, relaxing holiday….Unless you’re the mom.
For me, Thanksgiving is anything but relaxing. I’ll be chopping and cooking for most of the day. And when I’m not in the kitchen , I’ll be making sure the bathrooms are presentable and picking up the messes that always find their way into the living room. Then, I’ll finish up the holiday back in the kitchen, trying to clean up the leftovers and dishes before I collapse.
That’s just life. That’s my life.
I will not have many opportunities to rest on Thanksgiving Day, but I will have many opportunities to glorify my selfless Savior. I will have many chances to love my family through cheerfully serving them. There will be countless times that I can live out peace, patience, and joy through the inevitable trials that will pop up.
Thanksgiving Day, and other holidays, are full of little frustrations that can add up to a not-very-thankful heart. Trying to fix a big meal and serve others all day long can be draining. If you have little kiddos to care for, that adds a whole new level of potential trials, even if you aren’t the one doing the cooking. Keeping the baby from having a meltdown and the older kids “playing nice” is downright exhausting.
If I’m not careful, I will quickly forget what I’ve been called to do. I’ve been called to love. If I make a huge meal and have a clean house and happy children, but do not have love, I am nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I serve, and work, and give, but do not have love, I gain nothing (See 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
I have the Holy Spirit at work in me. I should live like it. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, and my perfect meal starts looking more like reality and less like a picture, I am required to be thankful. I am called to be thankful for the good and the bad. “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It wasn’t a question. There were no qualifiers like, except when the turkey won’t finish cooking and everyone is starving…or…unless your kids ask for a snack while you’re stirring gravy with one hand and taking rolls out of a hot oven with the other. The tough moments are going to happen, and I’m going to need to respond with love, thanking God for one more chance to glorify Him.
Unfortunately, my sinful heart has no holidays or time off. Praise God that the Holy Spirit doesn’t either. I will certainly have many opportunities to bring glory to God, but I will have just as many moments of temptation. I will be tempted toward self-pity, resentment, jealousy, pride….do I really need to go on?
If I hope to display the message of the cross, I must start my busy day at the foot of the cross. My list of things to do will be long and my time will be short, but I cannot allow myself to start the day without first turning my heart to God. And as challenges arise during all of that cooking and cleaning, I’ll need to quickly pray for the grace that’s already been paid for. God is giving me a unique opportunity to serve Him unlike any other member of my household, and I will need to lean on Him continually for the strength to do His will….thankfully.