It’s been a tough year. A pandemic, demonstrations, violence, elections, all with varying effects on each of us. But we need a break from all that. The holidays are upon us—Thanksgiving and Christmas with all their joys and traditions. This year as never before we need to open our hearts and minds to all the healing that can come when we concentrate on gratitude, giving, and God coming down to earth in the form of a tiny babe in a manger. The gifts of the holidays can heal us deep down, where we need it most.
So what should we prescribe for Thanksgiving? Maybe an acceptance that it probably won’t be as it’s always been. My daughter-in-law’s family traditionally gathers at their family farm in Pennsylvania. Most years around 22 people congregate from several states. This year due to travel and health concerns that won’t be happening. But she’ll host a smaller gathering in their home and make new memories for her husband and kids.
The location will be different, but the aroma of a turkey roasting in the oven, the table set with the best tablecloth and silverware, the excitement that builds as hungry diners come in and out of the kitchen to sample this or that favorite dish, will be much the same. There will even still be a couple of dogs circling around in hopes of finding a morsel or two on the floor. And as those in attendance bow their heads to pray around the table, the love and gratitude that encircles this precious gathering will deliver a dose of healing to all.
And what’s the recommended dosage for Christmas? Usually we talk about “paring down” the Christmas trappings in order to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas, but this year maybe it’s an overabundance of everything Christmas, everything celebratory, that will nourish our souls. Time to increase the number of twinkly lights, candles, large red bows, and tins of fudge and cookies! Time to send more cards, not less, in order to tell those you care about that they are in your thoughts and prayers. And yes, time to spend more time than in years past in front of our own hearths, circling our own trees, and thanking God for the miracle that is Christmas.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). As we celebrate this timeless truth may we feel healed—and ready to face whatever 2021 brings.
W Terry Whalin says
What a terrific article and great encouragement for every reader. Keep up the terrific work.
author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed
Thank you, Terry! Good to hear from you.
Beth Lueders says
I love your invitation to bring on the healing. Thank you for your suggestions to reinvent how we celebrate life, faith and each other. Grateful for you!
And I’m grateful for you, Beth! Thanks for commenting.
Elizabeth H. Van Liere says
Since I’ve always been a card or letter sender it won’t be hard for me to keep on doing what I’ve done in the past. I think this year it may have a bit more personal meaning. So glad we can greet each other by mail. Thanks for the encouragement to explode our greeting, Nancy.
For sure, Betty. I treasure our long distance friendship!
Jimmie Bohannon says
You are absolutely right!!!
Let’s celebrate Jesus!
For only HE is worthy!!
Sue Finger says
It’s appropriate that this year is 2020–it represents good, clear vision. Thanks, Nancy.
Haven’t seen it yet, Sue, but I’ll keep looking!!
Phyllis Murphy says
Dearest Nancy–your words drip with wisdom, thoughtfulness, and straight from the heart, all of which have landed in my heart. God has blessed you with the art of using words and I am blessed to be able to receive them. Thanks for so much to consider during this difficult time of year..
I’m glad if they helped, Phyllis. Glad we got in a safe hug on Sunday!
alice scott-ferguson says
I like the possibility of more and different,Nancy! One glance up at a Colorado night sky, should serve to assure us of the infinite possibilities of which we have neither thought or imagined. A most Grateful Good Day to all when Thanksgiving comes once more. Love you Nancy…next year we will catch up on our thwarted plans of 2020!
I sure hope so, Alice. Thanks for your faithful optimism. Miss you.
Charlie Fusco says
Very inspirational. Yes.! More of everything cheery: especially cards – real one – sent to say I love you … you a re in my prayers..
And I say both to you now, Charlie! Thanks for commenting.
Peggy Lovelace Ellis says
We look BACK on a year filled with more sad news than happy which gives us all the more reason to look UP to the One whose birthday we celebrate–the One who promises us unabated happiness in His timing. That knowledge helps us as we journey TOWARD the ultimate happiness. Nancy, you never fail to inspire me.
Thanks so much, Peggy. Yes, He’s given me peace throughout this election mess. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!!
Jess Bowen says
Beautiful encouragement! I am thankful for you, your words and your wisdom!
And I’m always thankful for YOU, Jess, and all you give to so many. Thank you for commenting.
Cheryl Niswonger says
In the midst of so much trauma, sadness and disappointment, we CAN rise up and create a new and stronger relationship with the One who gave His life for us!! Thanks for your encouragement and blessing us with encouragement!!
Thanks, Cheryl! We ARE leaning on Him more, aren’t we? That can never be a bad thing!
Cheryl Freeman says
Our Christmas as tree went up earlier as we enter this holiday season. We were both ready to get the outside lights up before waking to colder snowy days, displayed this morning. Our part of the state has experienced heavy doses of ash from the forest fires. The snow will help to cleanse the earth and set us on a new path. Sure, the shopping for gifts continues as traditions warm our hearts if we can’t share the physical closeness we all find necessary I our lives. The values we have instilled upon our children and we pray they extend to our grandchildren are just a simple part of sharing of ourselves. Our Bobber ( golden retriever) climbs his steps to lay down between us , he will be 14 in January. He has been our sweetest dog as we appreciate his gentle kindness. Blessing to you and your family as you set out on a new path carrying with it our love of Christ Jesus. Merry Christmas 🎄.
Thanks, Cheryl. And hugs to you, Roger, and Bobber! We DO need Christmas this year!