In lieu of a typical pastor devotional this morning, I was thinking this week about how we can be salt and light this Thanksgiving weekend to our family and friends. I don’t know all of your stories, and so I don’t know if there is joy and excitement wrapped up in your hopes for this holiday, or fear and anxiety. We all have family that are difficult to be with or draining to spend time around. We all have friends that make everything about themselves and struggle to find the positive in life. And so, in the honestness of that reality, I offer you 10 Ways to Act more like Jesus this Thanksgiving that I hope will make you both laugh and think twice.
10. Know that Jesus loves you just as much as He loves the family member that causes so much drama year after year. You can’t fix people; only Jesus can do that!
9. Wounded people wound others. When we are hurting, or lonely, or broken, we act out of that woundedness, and so extra patience and grace should be shared. Grace upon grace for yourself and others.
8. Bring enough to share. While Jesus is more than capable of feeding 5,000 plus women and children, don’t go in expecting that and buy enough or make enough so that there are extras.
7. Don’t be the one to bring up politics, vaccines, masks or the justice system. By all means speak up and speak into them from a place of humility, but for the love of all that is good in this world, don’t be the instigator.
6. Take pictures. Jesus would want us to remember the moments and mark the memories because life is short.
5. Laugh a lot, sing if you can, and give hugs (if you feel comfortable). We are the light of the world, but sometimes we take ourselves a little seriously. Enjoy life!
4. Slow to Anger. When a friend or family remember says something you completely disagree with, don’t role your eyes and shout, “Get behind me Satan…!” Instead, look deep into their eyes and remember that Jesus died for them too. Then maybe take a walk.
3. Model service and get the kids involved. Followers of Jesus are marked in how they serve others, so get the kids to help lay the table, place the silverware, carry the bread-basket and then let them pray for the meal.
2. The “Urgent Call” Trick. When all else fails, if the conversation turns caustic or if things get uncomfortable, you can always pretend you have an urgent phone call to take by leaving the table with your phone to your ear If not, just say, I need to be excused so I can go to my Father and spend some time in prayer… remember, Jesus did that ALL the time!
1. Remember this week is ultimately about Thankfulness. Write down 2-3 things you are thankful about each immediate family member you will be interacting with this week and pray that you will be given an authentic and natural time to share with them why you are thankful for them.
I hope these tips made you laugh and give you hope. We are in the people business and people are complicated and we are all figuring these things out together. I will be praying that God reveals Godself to you in a new way this Thanksgiving week!