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Christian Living

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Living Thanksgiving: Have a Grumble-Free Holiday

Family praying a blessing at dinner

Here’s a bit of my personal family history for you: Let it be recorded that last year, at age 23, I made quinoa stuffing for Thanksgiving. Yes, the rumor is true. The culinary conquest will live on in the minds of my family.  Forever…and ever!

Why? Well, I made way too much of it. You see, I didn’t realize that quinoa expands a lot like rice. (So did my family – with humor, that is!)

My dad, an accomplice in my endeavor, will attest that the stuffing was tasty, but, like some houseguests, it overstayed its welcome.

Never heard of quinoa? Well, let me change that for you: It’s an ancient, highly nutritious grain that tastes like a mix of rice and wheat. 

Let me set the record straight: When I prepared the quinoa, I thought was doing my family a favor. Of course, the traditional family favorite recipe for stuffing would still highlight the feast. But, I thought, a little variety can be nice, you know? Well, my attempt for variety met irony head-on: The quinoa stuffing lived on in the refrigerator and my family’s minds. I don’t even know how much was made! But I didn’t want to throw it out or waste it. (After all, I hate waste.)

This Thanksgiving, I look forward to cooking and baking up a storm! But –with or without quinoa- I look forward to thanking God and truly living Thanksgiving.

God’s people ought to know the true meaning of Thanksgiving Day. In the Old Testament, their praise and thanksgiving soared when they encountered God’s goodness. Imagine praising God uninhibitedly! “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD : ‘He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.’ And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.” (Ezra 3:11, NIV)

That’s what the Israelites did when the Temple was built. They had encountered so many trials –so many fears. Yet their shouts of praise drowned out any pains from the previous years. Let’s follow suit.

Today, we face a lot of uncertainty in the world. Terrorism. Economic pressures. Family disintegration. But God’s Hand still holds us. This Thanksgiving, here are some “praise prompters” to share with your family and friends at the dinner table. Grouches cannot prevail when others take the lead with praise to God! Here are four tips:

  • Let the kids share first. It’s amazing how quickly little kids can break the thickest ice! Encourage family and friends to give thanks without inhibition. Don’t make it a formal affair and correct grammar or word choices.
  • To start, pray a Psalm of Thanksgiving as a family. One treasure trove is Psalm 100, which is actually entitled “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.” Consider praying it aloud as a family:

Psalm 100
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

  • Print off and use “giving thanks” prompts. Let the person who promotes peace do the most leading. Have the most-respected, spiritually mature family member (ideally an elderly person) lead the time of thanksgiving. Here are a few “praise prompts” to use:
  • “When I’m at home, I thank God for _______.”
  • “I thank God that I can still ­­_______.”
  • “In spite of everything, I thank God that I still have _______.”

Wondering what to wear for Thanksgiving? Well, put on love. Only Jesus can do this. Lean on Him for love. Love on your family with follow-through action! Jesus loves your family members more than you ever could. Ask Him to love them through you. Want peace with your piece of pumpkin pie? Consider this true, 100% guaranteed-to-work portion of God’s Word in Colossians 3:

“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--  renewal in which there is no distinction … but Christ is all, and in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Emphasis added.)

By the way, none of the aforementioned tips will work if you don’t know about God’s love and how to go to Heaven. (If you don’t know about it yet, click here and share it with your family.)

Now, wise readers, let’s get back to the quinoa stuffing question: Should I or should I not make quinoa stuffing again this year? Better yet, maybe I should go ask my family!

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