No mashed potatoes?!

I was filling my plate with Thanksgiving favorites and had been saving a large spot for my favorite side dish…Mashed Potatoes.

I got to the end of the kitchen counter and hadn’t seen them.  Where did I miss them?  As I scanned the kitchen once more I asked my Mom where they were and she sweetly explained that with sweet potatoes, they had thought we were covered in the potato department.  Tears brimmed as this information sunk in.

No mashed potatoes this year.

That was a few years back and thankfully wounds have healed and I have now taken it upon myself to volunteer to bring those buttery starches to ensure they are present.  Recently I was thinking back to that Thanksgiving, and I felt an incredible rush of conviction.

Of course it’s ok to have a favorite food and feel disappointed if it isn’t present, but would a little heart preparation beforehand have changed my response to those missing spuds?

So often we don’t realize what our expectations are until we experience disappointment, and then we are left fumbling to figure out where all those feelings came from.

Apparently eating mashed potatoes was at the top of my Thanksgiving expectations list.

Surrounded by a loving family, delicious food and in a warm home…where my thankful tank should have been overflowing…my Thanksgiving was momentarily ruined because of some absent russets.

According to the Marriam-Webster Dictionary, the word thankful, used as an adjective, is defined as, “glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists.”

It is clear that, according to this, my attitude on that fateful Thanksgiving Day was less than thankful.  So much preparation had gone into this day: menus made, schedules set, drives completed, and yet I had not spent a single second preparing my heart and reflecting on what it truly means to be thankful on Thanksgiving (i.e. the purpose of this holiday!).

This year, I don’t want to wait until some hidden unmet expectation steals the reason for this holiday.

As you have pondered Thanksgiving these past few weeks, have you given any thought to preparing your heart?  Thursday, as the turkey is in the oven, casseroles are warm and pies are cooling…what will your status be?

Will you barely be holding on?

Want to join me in a heart preparation this year?

First, if you are able, come out to the Thanksgiving Eve service Wednesday evening at 7:30 at church.  It’s always a favorite service.  What better way to focus our hearts and minds on being thankful for all that God has and is doing in our lives than by gathering together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Secondly, don’t allow a busy schedule to take the place of spending time with Jesus.  Make a list of all the people and things you are thankful for!  I know, I’m sure your kids have done that in school and it seems juvenile, but it will do wonders for your heart!  Next, spend some time reflecting on what the Lord has to say about being thankful in Scripture.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These verses always stop me in my tracks.

Rejoice, pray and give thanks no matter what, all the time.  That’s it.  That’s God’s will for all of us.  

It’s not too late.  let’s all join together, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own strength, approach this Thanksgiving with a thankful heart.

I’m not sure how you are feeling about Thanksgiving this year.  Maybe you can’t wait for people to fill your home and gather around the table, maybe you are dreading it because it will be the first year without a loved one or maybe you aren’t able to make it home this year.

No matter what, my prayer for us all is to pray for a thankful heart and then live out that adjective.  Going back to Webster’s definition, Jesus is the someone and His death on the cross is the something that happened that makes me glad.  When I view everything else through the lenses of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross to have a relationship with Me, it’s impossible not be thankful.  This should have an affect on my all year long, not just on the 4th Thursday in November.

Even if stuffing isn’t present at Thanksgiving this year (my second favorite side dish), my prayer is that I will face it with a thankful heart and smile, remembering the amazing gift I have of a personal relationship with the Creator of the world.