I love preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday the week before Advent Season begins because it readies my mind to slow down and focus on the extra-ordinariness of the coming holiday season. Like many people, most days I have a full list of “to do’s” that I try to check off, and I often find myself running from thing to thing without much time set aside for reflection.
For years I dreaded Christmas because it felt like just a lot of work. It was just one more thing added to an already hectic life. When I discovered the observance of Advent, I learned to make way for the holiday—that is, I learned to clear other things out of my family’s schedule so that Advent and the celebration of the birth of Christ on Christmas became a primary focus, not “one more thing” added to our agenda.
Thanksgiving Signal for Advent
Now Advent has become the most special time of the year to me, with Thanksgiving being the signal that it is time to shift gears.
I try to be truly thankful everyday, but the Thanksgiving holiday reminds me to take stock of how well I’m doing with that. I find that as I take time to be thankful and purpose to thank God for specific blessings, I am a more joyful person. When preparing for the big Thanksgiving dinner with all my now adult children home, the tasks that I used to resent as added work become something I joyfully do as a preparation for a special time of celebrating Christ.
Keep a list
I find that the more I give thanks, the easier it is to find things to be thankful for because I’m reminded things I take for granted are actually blessings from God. This week I am returning to a practice I began years ago when I was taught about being intentionally thankful. Each night, I am writing down a list of 10 things I am thankful for. I doubt I will be able to stop at 10, but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.