Later today, we are going over to my cousin’s house for Thanksgiving. We’re bringing some food. See, we are inconvenient guests— my wife is gluten-free, and my daughter and I are both vegetarian— so it’s easy to feel like we need to go the absolute limit to keep our hosts from feeling imposed upon.
Thanksgiving as a holiday is complicated, and I don’t have space here to go into all the reasons why. (For example, my church this week hosted a 3-hour support group session for those facing difficult family situations at the holidays.) However, there is one source of stress that, in my experience, is often self-inflicted. More than any other holiday, I think, Thanksgiving tends to bring out the raging inner Martha.
A quick recap for those who don’t know the story: Jesus was coming over; there was a ton of work to do. Martha was running around the house completely frantic to get it all done; Mary blew it off and just hung out with him in the living room. Jesus said, “Mary’s got it right.”
For those of us celebrating with family and friends today, don’t forget that the main point is to celebrate with family and friends. If the turkey gets dry or the wine runs out or the napkins are paper, it couldn’t possibly matter less. In a real sense, it couldn’t possibly matter less.
So, as for our Thanksgiving: last night we could have driven ourselves late into the night, cooking & cleaning in a never-ending loop to manufacture all our own specialty food. But we didn’t. It’ll be OK; Thanksgivings have plenty to eat.
Instead we got to a point where it was close enough. Then we went to bed early, read a story with the kids, watched part of our favorite Christmas movie, and fell asleep in each others’ arms. In that moment, I truly knew what it was to be thankful.
P.S. Apologies to those who thought this was going to be a post about Martha Stewart.