“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV
I love celebrating, but my husband could let holidays go unrecognized. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in South Africa, where we live as missionaries, but was our first holiday as a married couple. My husband was under great stress from work when I mentioned our first Thanksgiving approaching and hastily responded, “I don’t want to deal with it!” That Thanksgiving I cried over a bowl of leftover chili. (Let’s just say that was not our best night as newlyweds.)
We moved to a new city in South Africa the next year where we didn’t know a single person as our second Thanksgiving rolled around. My husband encouraged me to celebrate in whatever way was important to me. I explored every grocery store and cooked an entire traditional Thanksgiving meal for our family of three. Our artistic adopted son was 8 years old and was charged with making decorations and placemats. Our small, intentional Thanksgiving was a turning point for us. It reminded me of 1 Corinthians 12, which teaches that we each bear a special gift that makes us as vital parts to the body. With humility and care, my husband created space to allow my gifts of planning and celebrating and my son’s gift of creative expression to be activated. Our family was blessed exponentially!
The next year 30 South Africans flooded into our home to celebrate – 10 times more people than the prior year filled their Thanksgiving plates high! We’ve had over 60 people each year since then, and I’ve had to share my American recipes with a local caterer (who was thrilled!) to help me. We take a collection from our Thanksgiving guests and spend the money to provide Christmas hams for families in need. Thanksgiving has become an epic event for our family.
My husband loves bringing people to our big family table (which has now become rows of rented tables in our front yard!). Our Thanksgiving looks different than most, but it is ours. It is prayed over, planned for, and steeped in passionate love and creativity.
Mama, don’t let the pressures of the world override what’s important this holiday season. Pray about what is important for your family this Thanksgiving, and make that the priority. If you hate cooking, order a pre-cooked meal and put your energy into something you love, like games, ambience, a service project or a family photo shoot. When you are operating in your God-given strengths, your family will be blessed immeasurably!
Kacy and the Help Club for Moms team
Father, thank you for making me and each member of my family unique. I invite you into this holiday season and ask You to show me how to glorify You and bring joy to my family. Help me see what is important and keep my heart set on You. Amen.