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How do you remember thanksgiving as a kid? Was the holiday anticipated with joy and excitement at the
thought of a break from school and a chance to spend time with your family? Or was it viewed with dread
because you just knew Aunt and Uncle So-and-So would bring along the cousin whose definition of play
was the destruction of your toys?

Think back to those years and try to name the atmosphere and your emotions surrounding the event.
Many times, as adults we either try to replicate what we had as a child, or we try to do the exact opposite
in an attempt to forge a different path. But before you run out and stock up on gravy and stuffing mix, or
scratch the date out of your calendar in order to forget it entirely, ask yourself, how do you remember
Thanksgiving when you were a child? A step further, how do you want your child to remember
Thanksgiving?

When I think back to the not so great memories of that day, I can remember the distinct feeling of tension
in the house of my parents being stressed trying to plan an enjoyable family function. I remember
whispers and family drama. When I picture the good memories, I remember the safety, the relaxed
atmosphere of simply being in the company of people I loved.

After Kris and I had our son, the first few holidays were hectic. To add to the stress of being first time
parents, we both felt an obligation, like so many families do, to split our time between our extended
families to ensure no one felt left out. This went on for a number years before I finally sat and talked with
Kris to admit that I was beginning to dread the holidays more than I enjoyed them. All the running
around, switching gears, and keeping track of schedules was wearing me out. As it happened, he felt the
same. What’s the point, we decided, of running ourselves ragged to ensure we fulfilled our obligations, if
by the end of the day, KJ was left with a stressed, on edge, worn out, mommy and daddy? It wasn’t worth
it. So we began to craft our own traditions. Now, after visiting briefly with our extended families, we go
see a movie. KJ looks forward to it every year (despite the fact that he normally falls asleep halfway
through), and afterwards we go home and just enjoy each other’s company. It’s simple. But it suits us. And
most importantly, it gives us space to breathe and *actually* give thanks.

This Thanksgiving, be sure to set aside a moment or two for yourself to connect to your Creator to
express gratitude, whatever that looks like for you. Don’t let yourself get so caught up in the stress of the
planning, the shopping, and the awkward family interactions that you lose sight of what the holiday is
meant for: being grateful for all we’ve been given, and most importantly, who we’ve been given.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up
in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

You are loved.
Brianna Richardson

Comments
  • Heather Ammons

    I love your points on families running themselves to death trying to please all sides of the family. I think movies are a great idea. We have done that the last few years. (except Covid) We also change up the menu just to ad a splash of something different. Have a great Thanksgiving!