As we prepare for Thanksgiving- some essential items to keep in mind are the importance of having the spirit of gratitude and a fundamental understanding of Christian hospitality.
As a mother of seven children, life is busy, and I can start to forget about the absolute blessing of Christian hospitality and the gift of being able to fill my table with lots of family members! I know that my Thanksgiving day needs to be grounded in my faith in God, my love for family, creating meaningful memories around a lovely meal, and carving out time to have fun!
I often reflect on how Thanksgiving dinner isn’t one that you start to prepare the day before, like a Sunday night dinner; instead, this is a day that often requires thoughtful planning. So let us start with Philippians 4: 6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer, petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The key to this passage is don’t let Thanksgiving Day make you anxious!
Ten Hacks to Help Moms Have a Great Thanksgiving!
- Don’t forget to say, Thank You. Thank the Dear Lord for your blessings! Many Catholic churches offer a special Mass or a church service so that families can thank Jesus for our many blessings!
- Gratitude is an essential attitude! I love to include Scripture passages and share items you are grateful for after we begin the meal with a blessing! Consider having everyone go around the Thanksgiving table and share one thing they are thankful for this year.
- Don’t get the little things to get you down! Our attitude needs to reflect that day! We must remember that attitude influences our hospitality.
- Hospitality has nothing to do with being or appearing perfect! Hospitality means openness to what guests and strangers bring to us and being attentive to their needs out of the desire to serve them! Hospitality has been ruined over the years to think that our house needs to be “perfect” to host significant events! The truth is a willing spirit is where we need to begin.. And maybe get some “mentors to help teach you.”
- Choose what matters most to you to focus on during big celebrations: Choose a few items that mean the most, such as the table decorations and the meal. But you can care less about the dessert tray (such as buying a few pies) or if the house is “amazingly” clean!
- Create the fun: What are you going to do when people come? Could you set up a little schedule, so it helps your guests and family to know what to expect- such instructions like we are going to eat dinner at 3:00, feel free to come early for football in the yard and a bond fire after dinner?
- Many hands make light work- Don’t forget to ask others to help you with the meal! It might not be your favorite sweet potato casserole or the dish you would have prepared, but it is always wonderful to include others!
- The Gift of Family Prayer: What about closing the day with a family, Rosary? Consider thanking God and praying the great prayer that unites us as Catholics, the Holy Rosary, at the end of the day or at least a decade of the Rosary.
- Consider having some guided Dinner Conversation Starters– Set your family up for success, have fun topics to discuss.
- Don’t forget to capture the day by taking family pictures!
*This segment was first heard on Spirit Radio, November 17, 2021.