Thanksgiving Day is almost here! We know that Thanksgiving is about gratitude, but maybe this year we can make it about grace as well. If I asked for a show of hands of all those who are overly stressed out right now or who have had a difficult year, I wouldn’t be able to count them all. Let’s make this Thanksgiving less about ourselves being grateful for all our blessings and little joys (for which we ARE grateful) and more about extending a gentle grace to those around us. That includes grace for ourselves and making an effort to relax, enjoy, and not let stress overwhelm us.
When I think of grace, I like to roll several parts of the definition into one. Grace is given to you and then you can share with others. And in another sense, it’s about treating others the way that you would hope others would treat you. While I talk about grace here, I mean something like this all combined into one:
But I also like another meaning of grace, the idea of a Grace Period – a postponement, delay, or pause. We can make Thanksgiving our Grace Period, a time set apart from the daily stresses and our issues with family and friends, and focus on how we can extend grace to those around us if even for a day or two before jumping back into the rat race with both feet.
Let’s start with giving ourselves grace! Stop setting the bar ridiculously high for yourself to have the “perfect” Thanksgiving. It’s about family, friends, food, and fun, not about fancy tablescapes, picture-perfect recipes, serving dinner on time, or acceptable behavior of children (and adults!). Learn to simplify, go with the flow, and appreciate the smaller victories of the day (like, hey I didn’t light a pie on fire this year!).
Give grace to those around you during this holiday. When we are stressed out, we are more irritable and far less tolerant of others. By making sure that we are in the right frame of mind first, we can love those around us this Thanksgiving no matter if they didn’t bring the food we asked for, showed up unexpectedly, started a political argument at the table, broke a dish, or had a bad attitude. Remember that we are all imperfect sinners. Take a deep breath, smile, and show love to your friends and family. There is beauty in the gift of grace.
I created a simple (not too fancy so I wouldn’t be too stressed out!) PDF with thoughts and tips for having a Thanksgiving with more grace and less stress. It includes thoughts on how to de-stress during Thanksgiving, 3 of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and tips for hosting. I wish all of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, grace-filled Thanksgiving!