Thanksgiving Tips

This week I ruined an interaction with my son.

He entered the living room with a Dunkin’ Donuts large coffee in his hand with good cheer and that glorious smile of his.

“Mom! Have a sip! It’s good!”

Upon taking a sip, I grimaced and remarked over how much sweetener was in it! (I cannot tell you how sweet it was.) My son then shared what everyone else orders and his has much less sugar. Phone in hand, I looked up the nutritional information on his drink and reported the carbohydrates.

“You ruined my drink, mom. I am not even excited about it anymore.”

He was so right and I was so sad.

My Mistake – Missed a Relationship Moment

As a parent, it is okay that I have my eye on the health of my children.  But I made a relationship mistake when I chose those particular moments to analyze his sugar intake.

When he entered the living room, my son initiated relationship with me as evidenced by an open expression and words of invitation. He leaned in toward me. And I was to lean back toward him in response.

Instead, I stayed distant.

A travesty. A lost moment. He initiated and I lectured. Will he initiate again? This is what is at stake. He may think twice the next time he is excited to show me something. We all have people in our lives we hesitate to approach. This is how it starts.

I want to live a life such that I minimize the ability for my children to understand they can approach Jesus with utmost confidence, to instill in them what it means that a relationship is safe. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Regarding shared coffee sips, it simply wasn’t the time to analyze. Our interaction was a relationship moment, not a conversation moment. Relationship was supposed to win.

I blew it.

This Thanksgiving many of us will be together with family and friends around a dining room table filled to capacity for the first time in one or two years.

We don’t want to blow it.

The compilation of personalities, opinions and varied levels of social finesse will most certainly keep things interesting. Toes will be stepped on. Inappropriate things will be said. Statements will be made with which we disagree. Let’s remember, however, when someone leans in to interact with us – initiates relationship – lean toward their invitation.

Let relationship win.

A prayer I often pray over social events is, “Lord, bless this time together in such a way that everyone leaves glad they came.” May we show up to love first, eat second, and persuade others to our viewpoints, last.

Be thankful for struggles.

I have a list of negative things that happened this year, as I am sure you do too. By faith, let’s thank God for struggles because the testing of our faith produces perseverance, or endurance. We have more endurance now than we did last year. We are stronger.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

Be thankful for the joy.

2021 also had some God surprises in it for me. For one, some debt was alleviated just hours before my 60th birthday party. I considered it my birthday present from God. Two, I made huge headway in a bible study I am publishing. I have been plugging along on it all year in my “free” time. Three, the biggest God surprise was becoming eligible to teach in a prison. God used my students there to change me. I have experienced deep shifts in perspective and have changed at fundamental levels.

Savor the meal time.

Consider taking the time to let people share their struggles and joys at the Thanksgiving meal. Linger long at the table. Enjoy each other. No analysis. No lectures. No instructions. Just lean in.

Picture Explanation: I wrote HERE about a tradition we do most years of placing traced paper hands near the Thanksgiving table for every person at the table. Each person writes five things they are thankful for on their hand and shares them during dinner! 

P.S. – I miss the turkeys that used to frequent our property, even on Thanksgiving day!

© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.

6 Responses

  1. “May we show up to love first, eat second, and persuade others to our viewpoints, last.” Choose relationship. Choose timing. Good thoughts, Laurie! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Great advice! There are many times I wish I could relive with my children and my husband, when I failed to put love first. That makes me sad! Emotional hurts are hard to heal. But they can, with prayer, God’s grace, our asking forgiveness from our loved one, and with a double dose of love over and over again in future opportunities! I am so thankful for God’s Word that gives us hope and wisdom when we mess up! He is always faithful, and He always puts love first!

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I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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