My sweet friends, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Does that make you feel happy, anxious, sad, nervous, harried? As women, we often carry the Martha-like burden of making sure all the moving parts are in place, and everything is ready for Thanksgiving day. I really understand that! We sometimes need to be reminded that at the heart of Thanksgiving is… well, thanksgiving.
My Unthankful Thanksgiving
Until recent years most of the heavy lifting, including the big bird, has fallen to me here at StoneGable and The Tanglewood House. And because most of my family does not live near that meant getting the house and guest room and bathrooms ready for a weekend full of family as well as planning, prepping, and preparing lots of meals besides Thanksgiving dinner. And for me, I wanted everything to be over-the-top special, wonderful, and perfect. By the time Thanksgiving dinner was on the table, I wanted to make this announcement…
Dear Family, I am so thankful for you and I want to sincerely thank everyone for coming! Enjoy dinner, and please clean up after yourself. I’m exhausted and my last nerve has been plucked! I’m going to bed.
I was totally spent by then! Even though I did get lots of help, I carried around the full weight of being responsible for Thanksgiving. Looking back, how silly!
Because Thanksgiving is not about the turkey or the tablescape or the stuffing (say it ain’t so!) or football games or parades with big balloons with Santa and his sleigh at the end of it. Thanksgiving is a state of the heart!
A Story About A Woman Named Martha
I mentioned Martha above and I think this story from Luke 10:38-42 is a perfect illustration. For a minute let’s go back to first-century Israel as Jesus and His disciples are visiting their dear friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to them. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Mary chose the better thing. And what was that? It was sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to Him.
The Better Thing
The nugget of truth of these verses is not that Mary was lazy or that Martha was the frazzled and frustrated one left to do all the work. It was that in spite of all the preparation to be done, the LORD was in their presence, and spending time with Him was and is always the better thing.
Yes, there was lots to be done! No doubt about it, but for that small amount of time that Jesus was sitting, and when Jesus sat, that often signaled He was teaching, the only response was to sit and hear Him.
The rest of the story is not told and I’m only guessing when I fill in the blanks, that when Jesus got done talking He probably pitched in and helped. God is not a God who stands by the sidelines of our lives. He gets into the thick of them.
A Thankful Perspective
My friends, I’ve learned so much over decades of Thanksgiving dinners. Like Martha, it was all about the preparation and was distracted by all the minutia that had to be done. What I really needed was to sit at the feet of my Savior early Thanksgiving morning when my house was quiet and all my chicks were in the nest and sleeping and spend time with Him.
Thanking Him for sleeping peeps, a turkey to eat, and dirty dishes, which is a sign of having plenty of food. I should have been thanking Him for his saving grace that spread like the wildfire of the Holy Spirit through my family. Thanking him for a thousand little things and a thousand big things. And millions upon millions of blessings.
So, all the other “stuff” of Thanksgiving seemed fun but small. Because acknowledging what God has done for me was the better thing and the right thing and the only best response to God on this day and every day!
This year, I pray that you will have a THANKS-giving day! Practicing the presence of God all day and keeping a running tab of not what you have to do but of what you are thankful for.
This Thanksgiving, I’ll be thanking God for you! You are such a blessing in my life! May the Lord bless you and give you thankful hearts!
This is a beautiful verse…
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is Good. His love endures forever. Ps 126:1