By Rev. Tom Eggebrecht
Two years ago my wife and I ate our Thanksgiving lunch at Steak ‘n Shake. It was the only place we could find that was open. Don’t worry, we tipped the waitress well.
Our daughter and her husband were out of town visiting his family. Our son and his wife live in another state. Most of our friends were busy with their own family Thanksgiving celebrations. So we decided to go out for a light lunch and then cook dinner at home by ourselves. It wasn’t the ideal Thanksgiving you see on TV shows. But it was still very pleasant.
For a variety of reasons a church worker may not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving like the general public. Sometimes one has to make due.
Over the years we have celebrated Thanksgiving around huge tables filled with family. We have also celebrated around small tables with close friends. Thanksgiving is, of course, a national holiday. It’s not a church holiday. But it’s an opportunity to gather with family and friends, take a break and give thanks. There is much to be said for church workers giving due diligence to this holiday.
Here are five ways for you to do just that:
- Lower your expectations. We all want the picture-perfect Thanksgiving. Very rarely is a family gathering or party of any kind without flaws. Go into your celebration hoping for a great time but expecting something less than perfection. Lower expectations will most likely mean you’ll have a better-than-expected Thanksgiving.
- Don’t overindulge. Eating and/or drinking too much will lead only to regret. Set some limitations for yourself going in. Your waistline will thank you. And you’ll feel refreshed waking up on Friday morning.
- Be kind to your family. This may be the only time you see some of your family members all year. Don’t come to the celebration loaded with ammunition built up over the course of many years. If you have to hold something in, hold it in. The Thanksgiving holiday is not the time for a big blow up. Work out another time to winsomely settle differences.
- Get some rest. The holidays are a busy time for church workers. Thanksgiving is the figurative “calm before the storm.” Use Thanksgiving Day – and perhaps a day or two afterwards – to bank some rest. Take a breather and gather yourself for the busy days to come. You have my permission to take a nap on Thanksgiving afternoon.
- Give thanks. It doesn’t usually take a secular holiday to remind us church workers to give thanks. But our national Thanksgiving holiday is a great reminder even for church workers to take a look around and give thanks. Why not take the opportunity to start an everyday habit of writing down five things for which you are thankful? Start the list with Jesus.
This year my wife and I won’t be going to Steak ‘n Shake. We’ll be having our Thanksgiving with friends. We’re looking forward to it. Wherever and whatever your Thanksgiving celebration may be, I hope it’s your best one yet.