By Dr. Russ,
Now that Thanksgiving is over, everyone is turning their attention towards Christmas. As I look back on this past thanksgiving, I find myself feeling a great deal of joy and happiness. As I look forward to Christmas, I find myself feeling anxious and worried. Why, I ask myself do I have these opposing feelings about two of the most anticipated, happy, holiday gatherings of the year?
I think the answer lies in the nature of expectations and the desire to please others. I have very few expectations for thanksgiving other than sitting down with family and friends at dinner and enjoying turkey, stuffing and pie; lots of it!
Even before Thanksgiving Day was over, Black Friday shopping for Christmas gifts was encroaching on the day itself with several mega chains opening for business before midnight on Thursday. I call that Black Friday madness going into a manic episode.
While Thanksgiving is full of thanks for the past year, Christmas is full of expectations to get or have more material things. And Madison Avenue piles it on. The more expectations we create or have, the more anxious and worried we can become. Something seems terribly wrong with this picture. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus and that would and could be right in the world. The wise men and shepards were not looking to receive, but rather to give frankincense and myrrh. They were only in a giving mode and expecting nothing in return.
I find that when we expect nothing, we are surprised by all the impossibilities that become possible. Let me explain. In my grace for the Thanksgiving Dinner, I thanked the Lord for all the impossible dreams that had been made possible and become reality over the last year. It turns out, just like the first Pilgrims, everyone gathered ‘round the table had experienced an impossible dream come true since last Thanksgiving. Here are some:
- A near forty year old man who wondered if he would ever be a father was celebrating his first Thanksgiving with a two month old son.
- A twenty seven year old young man who’s life was going nowhere after the death of his father, completed college and started a new job for which he was qualified.
- A hard working young thirty year old completed his first semester of teaching as a college professor
- A forty year old male was laid off from one job, and started a new job two days later.
- A successful. Professional in his field relocated to a new city five hours away with his wife and family and was finding success in the new location.
- A house had been significantly remodeled by the sweat of the owner’s brow.
- A 29 year old had gotten married and the couple started building a life together.
- 14 family members sat around the Thanksgiving table in the first ever family reunion for some; some of whom had traveled over 1000 miles to get there.
What impossible dreams were you thnkful for over the past year? Make a comment and let us know.