It’s the typical Thanksgiving dinner scene: A family gathered around a table digesting turkey, mashed potatoes, pecan pie, and all the other things that come with holiday get-togethers. You know what I’m talking about—the family dynamics.
Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday, but let’s face it, some of us just don’t want to go there. It can be anything but a time of celebration. For many it can invoke painful memories, disappointment, or feeling like you “have to” sit through somber family rituals.
I recently read Luke chapter 19—the story about Jesus entering Jerusalem. It would be his last major road trip, but his followers didn’t know that. They were ecstatic to see Jesus because they were grateful for his presence and how he had changed their lives. “…the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (verses 37-38). They were so grateful that they literally could not be contained.
Have you ever had a Thanksgiving celebration like that—uncontained joy and gratefulness?
I think God wired us to express thankfulness in uncontained celebration. Mamas, many of us remember the 1990s show Friends, where the friends created “friendsgiving.” The show comically pointed out challenging family dynamics associated with a traditional celebration, so the friends decided to start a new tradition, a tradition that was filled with raucous fun and connection.
Because raucous fun and connection is a natural outpouring of gratefulness!
What if this year you and your family had an uncontained, joyful celebration? Within limits of course—the goal isn’t to lose your mind or blow your budget. The goal is to express joy in thanksgiving as you reflect on all the good gifts God has given you.
What food would you eat?
Who would be there?
Who would pray and how?
What other things would you do to celebrate?
And, most importantly, how would Jesus show up?
Thanksgiving is something we do from the heart—it’s an outpouring of expression. Our expression connects us with God, the giver of all good gifts, and that connection becomes a form of worship. When we worship together as family and friends, we are naturally connected. There is no ritual, there is no “have-to,” and there is not even tradition other than expressing joy together. We naturally want to go there—in fact, we love going there—just like God meant it to be.
The best Thanksgiving, ever.