I saw Christmas lights up yesterday – and it is the middle of November. It was already a little strange to see Halloween lights, and now I am starting to see Christmas lights in November. This does not bother me as much as some of my Facebook friends; I don’t think Christmas music or lights are an affront to Thanksgiving. I don’t wonder much about the radio station or stores – their reasons for rolling out Christmas earlier every year seem pretty easy to understand. I wonder about my neighbors who put up the lights. Do they long for Christmas? Were they that family last year who didn’t get their lights up until Christmas Eve (I have been there!), and this year wanted to make up for lost time? Is Thanksgiving just a day they would rather skip?
Yep, these are the thoughts that percolate in my brain as I drive and talk with Jesus. And I can’t help but think in the middle of the longing for Christmas, and all of the “defending” of Thanksgiving, that there has to be something more than turkey and football and family that defines what Thanksgiving can mean for Kingdom people. I want to be thankful and thoughtful.
Thoughtful is more than just an attitude – it is thanksgiving in action. It is being thankful for someone AND sending them a note. It is a hug. It is taking the time – all year long – to really listen when you ask someone “how are you doing?” It is a different pace of life. It can be gifts, too. Maybe it is horrible that Black Friday is right after (or on the day of) Thanksgiving – so much buying right after we have given thanks. Maybe it is not so horrible – many of those gifts are for those we love. We want to be thoughtful in our gifts – we want to tell people how much they mean to us – so much more with our presence than our presents.
Paul started all of his letters (except one, I will let you figure out which one) with thanksgiving. He was being thoughtful to even write the letter, too, as he instructed them, encouraged them, and sometimes chided them. Paul was thankful and thoughtful. Thankful and thoughtful – this might be the key to living Thanksgiving more than a day (or month) a year. This might be the key to being ok with the Christmas songs and lights in November (next year October?) – maybe those people are longing for the peace of Christ, and they need a loving hand to reach out with a thankful and thoughtful word.
(Ok, it was Galatians.)