This week I happened upon a webpage helping people prepare for Thanksgiving. I clicked on the link because the title caught my attention: Thanksgiving is coming: refrain from freaking out. The article began like this: “Thanksgiving is happening. There’s nothing you can do to stop it, but there’s everything you can do to make it magnificent and memorable for your guests and even (gasp!) yourself.” The article goes on to give all kinds of hosting and cooking advice from “Stress-free brining” to “Tired of turkey? Make a bacon pig” to “Can you get leftovers through the airport” to “What to serve if Wolf Blitzer shows up” to “Remain calm in the face of Thanksgiving madness.”

I understand the purpose of the website. The Thanksgiving holiday focuses on food, and preparing food for however many family and friends come to your home is a huge task. In most homes, someone is bent over a hot stove with pans on every burner and an oven full of meat, stuffing and sweet potatoes. The preparation doesn’t begin Thursday morning; in fact, if you haven’t started on Wednesday, you’re probably already behind. In addition, the stress of the day isn’t always limited to what’s happening in the kitchen; in some homes the real pressure is figuring out all of the dynamics of family when everyone is together.

Nevertheless, somewhere in all of this stress and pressure a day designed to be as simple as stopping for a moment, reflecting on all of our blessings, and expressing our gratitude to God has gotten off course.

I’m not advocating for a Healthy Choice dinner on Thursday; I love the food and I love the opportunity to spend extra time with family and I don’t want that to change. I’m just realizing that I’m not as engaged in giving thanks on this day as I could be…should be. Let me encourage you to do what I am feeling prompted to do: 1) Give much more of my time and energy to help with food and hosting preparations as I possibly can so that the stress is lessened on the people with the most to do; and 2) Spend time privately and more than normal time as a family giving thanks.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving giving thanks.