November is here, and it feels like Christmas is right around the corner. We just finished celebrating Halloween, which was so much fun with our two boys. I love going to the pumpkin patch, picking out Halloween costumes, trick or treating with friends, and all the other festivities. We had a blast! And now when I look at our December calendar, I see that it is about to fill up with school, church and family activities. And I LOVE Christmas!! I start singing Christmas carols sometime in September because I just can’t help it. I love to decorate and all of the traditions, and making special memories. But at the beginning of November, I just want to stop. I want to take some deep breaths before the Christmas season starts, and I have to remind myself its about celebrating (not hyperventilating) in the midst of all the activity. I want to stop and let Thanksgiving have its own time and its own season for celebrating.
When I think about all of the different holidays, I think about how I want my boys to view the world, and I want them to see it from a perspective of Thanksgiving. Sandwiched in between the excitement of Halloween candy and the beauty of Christmas morning, Thanksgiving calls me to pause.
Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays ever since I was little. We would travel to see family, which is what we still do today. We would eat the traditional Thanksgiving food at my Grandparent’s house and just spend time together. As an adult, as soon as November 1 gets here, I start counting down to Thanksgiving and visiting with family. At Thanksgiving, we aren’t focused on getting gifts or a flurry of Thanksgiving parties. We are just together with extended family (eating amazing turkey then chocolate pumpkin trifles), and we are thankful.
At Christmas, we also focus a lot on giving to others, especially those who don’t know we are giving or who aren’t in a position to give back. We focus on the Christmas Eve service at church and we why celebrate. But for children, the glitter of their own presents under the tree is part of the excitement. It makes sense that it would be as they anticipate Christmas morning.
Overall, I want my boys to live their lives in a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude for the people and experiences in their lives, rather than focusing on the next thing that they can receive. I want them to remember to stop in middle of the busyness of life to be thankful rather than chasing after the next illusive prize. I want them to recognize that thankfulness is the joy of enjoying what is happening now, rather than waiting for the next chapter of life to unfold.