Gosh this is a busy time of year! Every year the holidays fly by and I’m always wondering where the time went. Wondering what happened to Thanksgiving? Did it just get swallowed up by Christmas? I’m also left with the feeling of wishing I could have somehow slowed it all down to savor it all just a little bit more.
Do you ever feel like that? When the time has passed do you wish you could somehow get a piece of it back? Wishing that it all wasn’t just a big blur? That maybe you could have enjoyed it just a little bit more? That Thanksgiving kind of just gets passed by and drowned out by Christmas?
Well here are a few tips on how we can prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving this year. This is with the hopes of being able to savor the time just a little bit longer and somehow solidifying the time in our hearts.
So how can we do this? How can we prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving and make the time count? Here are some ideas…
Write A List Of What You Are Thankful For
Take the time to write (actually sit down and write, not just think in your head) about all that you are thankful for. About all that brings you joy and happiness. About all the positive things in your life.
You know what happens when you do this? All the negative gets washed away and you become keenly aware of all the blessings in your life. Sometimes with all the busyness of life we lose site of the positive. Taking the time to intentionally focus on all that you are thankful for, and write them down, changes that perspective. It prepares our heart for Thanksgiving.
Traditions are something to look forward to every year. They are things that bring comfort, familiarity, and a sense of home. How many of us long for those familiar things that this time of year brings?
So what can we do to develop traditions? Think about your childhood. What are things you enjoyed that you would like to pass on or share? Or maybe you are starting from scratch? What can you do to start some traditions? Here are a few ideas:
- Start a tradition of prayer. Praying over your Thanksgiving meal, saying grace. Maybe each person can add a little bit of their own so it is a collective prayer?
- Go around the room and share what each person is thankful for.
- Read a specific story every year. Maybe about the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims, or the founding of our country.
- Have a time set aside every Thanksgiving to play specific games. Play these games each year. Before you know it everyone will look forward to this tradition.
Through all the busyness the important, meaningful things tend to get lost along the way. Try to make a conscious effort to not over schedule yourself. To maybe forgo the things that are not necessities.
So what are some real changes you can make to help simplify this time of year?
- Order things that you can online. So you will not be running around as much.
- Commit to not starting your Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving. (Sacrilegious I know 😉 ) Or start much earlier so you can have the time around Thanksgiving free to focus on just Thanksgiving.
- Ask for help. If you cook for a lot of people, share the load. Have everyone bring a dish.
- Go without. Do you really need all those handmade crafts at every place setting? Can you maybe use what you already have?
Nothing is better at bringing gratitude and thanksgiving than serving others. Helping those who are less fortunate. It really brings things into perspective. How can you serve others?
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen, shelter, or nursing home.
- Give to the needy. Unfortunately many will be without even the basic necessities this time of year.
- Make gifts for those less fortunate. Operation Christmas Child is a great one that the whole family can get involved with. Or maybe you make blankets? There are plenty of homeless that are in need of warmth this time of year.
The simple act of praying that God would prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving, praying for a thankful heart, and praying He would show us all we have to be thankful for, is probably the single most important thing that we can do in preparing our hearts.
Sometimes circumstances are such that this is the only thing we have control over. We may not have the resources, ability, energy, or freedom to do any of the mentioned above, BUT we all can do this. We can all pray. And you know what? If it is all you can do, it is enough. More than enough.
So there you have it… 5 (simple) ways you can prepare your heart for Thanksgiving.
Lastly I have a gift for you…
One tradition we have for Thanksgiving is to reflect on the reason why we as a country celebrate Thanksgiving. So every year I bring out and read President Lincoln’s declaration for a national day of Thanksgiving. (Prior to this it was left up to the states to celebrate.) I was given a copy years ago and have kept it since.
I would like you to have it also, as it speaks a lot to the reasons why we celebrate Thanksgiving and it reveals a lot about our history as a nation. So I have included a free printable here for you to download. It fits an 8×10 frame (pictured above) but you don’t have to frame it. Maybe just print out some copies to give to your dinner guests. Who knows maybe it will become a tradition of your own to read. 🙂
What do you do in your home to prepare your heart for Thanksgiving? I would love to hear about it.
Happy Thanksgiving and be blessed! xx