The other night, we had beans and rice for dinner. Nothing else. It was not by choice. This was what was served. Our kids and I spent a few days serving at a Youth With A Mission base in central California where we packaged dried food for the poor for distribution in various parts of the world. The hosts thought it would be good for us Americans to experience what many people in developing countries eat on a daily basis. I’m glad that we got to put ourselves in the shoes of many hungry people in the world, especially as we prepare to feast on Thanksgiving Day.
What a great way to remind ourselves how much abundance we have in this country and to be grateful for what we have!
In Proverbs 17:1 it says, “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.”
As I ate beans and rice with about 60 other people, I was reminded that it is not the amazing spread of food that makes a feast (although it is wonderful to have them), but it is being surrounded by people who are content and thankful together.
Sometimes in our rich western world, we can easily buy into the lie that it is the abundance of things — food, toys, and stuff, that make us content in life. We don’t realize that even with a dry morsel, a house can be quiet with gratitude and contentment. The secret to a feasting heart does not depend on the spread of of food, stuff, and options.
As you are in the thick of preparing for the big Thanksgiving Day, think about what will make your Thanksgiving Day truly a day of feast. How easy it is for us to get stressed out about all the details that come with hosting. How unfortunate that my husband feels unappreciated as I huff and puff about how things are not in place. My kids feel devalued as I snap and treat them with impatience. This is not the way I want my Thanksgiving Day to be. How sad it would be to have a beautifully decorated home, an amazing spread of food, but people who are closest to you bruised and hurting.
I want my Thanksgiving Day to be marked by peace.
It starts with me being a person of peace — focusing on making sure that the people who come to the table experience true hospitality that comes from a generous heart and attitude. It means that my table might not look as festive as I’d like, but those who sit around it will feel festive as they experience true hospitality in the form of a warm smile, a gentle answer, a heartfelt thank you, and a genuine connection.
Here are a few things I have been reminding myself as I prepare to host Thanksgiving (the day after Thanksgiving Day):
If your Thanksgiving plans don’t turn out Pinterest perfect, it is okay. No one will complain.
Are you trying to impress or are you practicing hospitality? Choose hospitality.
Plan one group activity that all can do that helps everyone to focus on gratitude.
Take a moment to look at each person sitting around the table. Think about one thing you love about the family member or friend. Say a silent prayer thanking God for your loved ones. Then take the extra step to let them know why you love them.
Beans and rice on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude is far better than a Thanksgiving feast marked with angst and stress. Enjoy, Be Thankful, and Happy Thanksgiving!