The other night I was in transit through the Seattle airport when I saw them—the magazines with All. The. Thanksgiving. Table. Spreads. There were several of them, displayed in a magazine rack, glossy photos of dinner and dessert that just looked so scrumptious. Even though it was past 10 PM, all of a sudden, I was hungry. Unable to resist the guarantee of the best turkey recipe ever, I bought them all. It’s the season of abundance, right?
Now a few days later (with the stack of rumpled magazines sitting next to me), I realize that I wasn’t physically hungry that night. Thanksgiving brings a craving, not just for pumpkin pie and cornbread stuffing, but for connection. Gathered around a table focused on abundance and gratefulness; what an amazing way to begin the holiday season and celebrate the blessing of another year.
I come from a family of talented, creative women. One of our favorite things is to decorate the table in a special way for family dinners. A few years ago, my mom found an old Scrabble game at a thrift shop and used the pieces to spell out the guest names at each place setting. The rest of the pieces were stashed in a bag in great-grandma’s cupboard – the Q’s, the X’s—the pieces that didn’t get used.
I’m not sure those leftover pieces would have spelled out much of anything good. But what if they could?
It’s easy to feel grateful for the things that naturally come to mind, such as your family and good health. But what if this year handed you a bag of pieces that didn’t make any sense—a bag full of Q’s, X’s, and the like? Sometimes life is random like that. Some years you feel like celebrating the holidays in all their gusto, and other years you may feel like you’ve just gotten the leftovers.
It’s in those years that you have to get creative—to find something to be thankful for, despite the leftover pieces.
Sometimes you get a bag of pieces, and you get to make something creative out of it.
But do you know what? I think that’s what Thanksgiving is really all about. Taking the leftovers and constructing gratefulness from them. It forces you to think deeply and creatively about what God has given you.
What’s something that you are grateful for, right now, that starts with an X?
How about a Q?
How about Ph?
This is also a fun activity to try with your kids. If you have a Scrabble game, pull it out tonight, dump the pieces in the middle of the floor, and randomly pull out letters. See if you and your kids can construct words of things that you are thankful for this year.
It’s easy to get carried away by the holiday spirit—like me purchasing every magazine with pretty holiday photos that I could find. But slowing down and creating fun, family moments together is what your children will remember. I wish you and your family a warm and connected Thanksgiving, full of food and fun!
What are some of the “thankful pieces” you and your kids came up with? Take a moment and post them below!