Our Christmas tree is NOT up...yet.
This may be the longest we have waited in years...yes, last year it was up right after Halloween and the year before that, it was up the first week in October.
We watch Christmas movies all year long and so when the season finally starts catching up to our excitement about Christmas, we can't hold off from decorating.
And yes, my kids who completely understand that the whole reason we even get presents on Christmas is because it's Jesus' birthday and Santa just gives us all of Jesus' presents because Jesus is so cool (ya, culture and faith totally mixed up into one giant conglomeration...don't judge me) Anyway - they are already calling Santa (who happens to be my older brother who lives in California...you didn't know we were related, did you?) telling him what they want for Christmas.
Let me take this brief moment to make this ABUNDANTLY clear - I will not be buying, or allowing my children to accept any doll that pees, poops, or cries. I have enough of that in my house as it is...let's continue, shall we?
Usually we go from the excitement of the sugar intoxication from Halloween right to the excitement of Christmas, and Thanksgiving just falls into there somewhere - we eat turkey and call it good and get on to the real holiday. But this year, I decided it would be different.
This year, I wanted our children - well, and Dave and I too, to really be thankful for all the things we have to be thankful for.
It seems as though so many people are just ungrateful now. Maybe it's my generation that feels we are entitled to everything we want and we are angry when we don't get it. Maybe it's the false belief that if you love God enough He will give you everything you want and when He doesn't we think something is wrong with God. Maybe it's because we are constantly bombarded with reminders of all the things we DON'T have that we MUST have or we just aren't up to cultural standards...I don't know, but regardless of what the reason may be, it seems as a culture we have lost our grateful hearts.
Currently there is a commercial for a car company where there is a young boy who is talking about his parents and how "nerdy" they are because they drive an old van - and how you too can be cool if only you buy this new 37k SUV. I cringe every time I see that - for a couple reasons:
1. Little boy, you will be thankful your parents drive that old nerdy van when you want to do something that costs money and your parents actually have money to do it instead of paying 500 dollars a month for a car payment (sorry, that's my Dave Ramsey follower coming out)
2. Little boy, you should be grateful that your parents have a vehicle. Be grateful for what you have.
We noticed that our kids were starting to be that way about certain things, not big things, but regardless - it needed to be addressed and stopped immediately.
They want things to be fair, they want the coolest toys, they want stuff now, they are learning the gross art of discontentment and they are only four. So now I've explained to them that there are people out there who don't have anything. I've explained to them that there are people out there who have everything and aren't thankful for what they do have. I've explained to them that Daddy works hard for what we have and we need to be appreciative and grateful that we have clothes on our bodies and a roof over our head and toys to be played with and food in our tummies. And our kids, by in large are getting it...with reminders...frequently.
So, this year as a November activity for us to focus on Thanksgiving and all that we have to be grateful for - I decided to do a Thankful tree.
I drew a large tree trunk (because I'm such a wonderful artist, ha ha ha) and then I cut out what seemed to be about 100 leaves out of construction paper we had lying around. Each day, Dave and I and the three oldest kids are writing what we are thankful for that day.
It's interesting to see their answers. I'm thankful that primarily their responses have been people, and their needs being met, and only just a few "things" have made their way up to the tree.
I know in the economy right now, it is so easy to focus on what we don't have. It's easier to see the glass half empty sometimes than it is to search out those things for which we should be so grateful for.
But I challenge you - take a deep breath. Slow down this season. Focus on those things in your life that you can be grateful for. I am confident you will have more than you even know.
Enjoy Thanksgiving this year - make it a thankful Thanksgiving.