baskets of pinecones

My sweet friends, Thanksgiving is less than two week 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! Today let’s talk about keeping a thankful heart for 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! 

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 him.  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? Sitting at the Lord’s feet listening to Him. 

The nugget of truth of this verse 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 He 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.

My friends, I’ve learned so much over decades of Thanksgiving dinners. Like Martha, it was all about the preparation and a zillion things 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 spending time with Him.

Thanking Him for sleeping peeps, and a turkey to eat, and dirty dishes which is the sign of having plenty of food. 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.

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

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  1. Yvonne, I love your Sunday morning messages. They make my day and my week. You are so right about Thanksgiving. I somehow get lost somewhere between the mashed potatoes and the gravy and forget what the day is all about. Thanks for the sweet reminder and may you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving.
    Love & Light, Sharon

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful reminder that Thanksgiving is not about the food, fun and celebration. Although we work hard to make it “perfect” it shouldn’t be work and the funny thing is that our families would enjoy it just as much of there was one less side dish, one less pie but that we were all together.

  3. Thank you for this reminder. I love you reminding us that dirty dishes mean we have had plenty to eat.
    Thank you Jesus for providing for us.

  4. Of course, we all know this, but to put it into practice requires intentionality and focusing on gratitude and all He has done for us. Many thanks for this timely reminder. You, my friend, have been a wonderful blessing in my life. May God richly bless you for all you do for others.

  5. Yvonne,
    I am thankful for you. You have taught me many different ways to make our home beautiful. Most of all, you teach me that the most important way to make our home beautiful is to fill it with the Holy Spirit.
    Thank you.

  6. Thank you for this message. Its just what I needed to hear and I appreciate it so much. I am thankful for you and will be saying a prayer of thanks for you.

  7. You mentioned a planner that you use to make a master plan for the holidays. Would you mind sharing what kind of planner you use? Thank you.

  8. I shared your devotional tonight at my church council meeting – thank you so much for your wise words.

    On an unrelated note – you often refer to bringing up your decor-filled bins from your basement. Is there any chance you could show us how you store your out-of-season items? Do you have some type of organized storage shelving units? Thanks.

    1. My basement looks like a store! I have shelves set up like isles things fill the shelves according to their categories… candles, trays, Christmas, wreaths, faux flowers etc. Maybe someday I’ll share the basement.