Letting Go of the Perfect Thanksgiving and Finding A Perfectly Wonderful One

Struggling to live up to holiday expectations?Diane Paddison Thanksgiving blog

Maybe it’s the expectations that are the problem.

As of early last week, my Thanksgiving wasn’t exactly shaping up to be ideal.

It’s one of my favorite holidays and I love spending it together at home as a family. Only this year, we’re in the middle of moving, so “home” is a little up in the air. Chris is taking two of the kids up to Canada to visit his parents, but with my daughter Annie still sick and the move to manage, she and I are staying in Dallas. Me, Annie, and a lot of boxes.

Then there are the trips to prepare for. Starting the week after next, I have three board meetings, a speaking engagement, and Annie and I are traveling up to Minnesota to see another specialist. With so much to think about and so much to do, and with the family scattered, Thanksgiving was beginning to feel more like a burden than a blessing.

Dear God,” I prayed, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this, and I’m tired. But I know that you’re with me. I know that you’re faithful. I will trust in you.”

The thing is, God never promised us perfect holidays, or holidays at all for that matter. These times are a blessing, not because they fulfill some ideal expectations, but because they offer a chance to step away from the distractions of life and focus on what’s important. Ephesians 5:19-20 directs us to:

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I love this as a Thanksgiving verse because Paul admonishes us to give thanks always and for everything, not just for the good stuff.

This year I’m thankful for the chaos, because it’s allowing me to put aside my expectations for the “perfect” Thanksgiving. It’s put me in the position to accept the loving offer of a friend to share Thanksgiving with their family. And it afforded me the unexpected joy of a surprise visit from my son Christian. Christian couldn’t have made it up to Canada with us, but Dallas he can do, and he’s going to join us tomorrow.

Does Thanksgiving look ideal? Well, no.

But it’s looking like the exact Thanksgiving that we were meant to have this year.

Expectations have a way of blinding us to the blessings in our lives. If you start letting them go, you might be surprised at what you see around you.