Not Yet!

I love Christmas!

I’ll put up Christmas lights until they can be seen from space.

But I refuse to turn them on until the day after Thanksgiving!

A local radio station started playing Christmas music on November 11th

and I want to yell “STOP!”

Friends post pictures of their trees put up early

and I want to block them until December.

Walmart’s garden section is gone, replaced by a plethora of trees, lights, yard décor, and garlands.

Yes, I avoid that side of the store.

Did Scrooge infect me with a heart two sizes too small?

Did Rudolph punch me in the gut with his red snout?


I just want to dwell in the attitude of


This used to be a time that people celebrated the harvest. People would be truly thankful to God for the provision of food for the winter.

I know for many, this is a lean season. Inflation has hit hard at a time that many companies are downsizing. We are having to find ways to cut our budget.

But we still have so much to be thankful for.

I am reminded of a family I met years ago in Tijuana, Mexico. The mother worked at a mission to the poorest barrio. She invited our mission group to her home.

She was very proud of it. She prepared a simple dessert for us as we made our way in our fancy American cars into her neighborhood. It was on a hill, well above the flood zones that affected the barrio by the mission.

When we pulled up, we saw the plain cement block home with a metal roof. Upon entering, we were greeted by the bright colors of Mexican blankets covering the walls and the few seats.

The whole house was about the size of our living room.

She beamed as she welcomed us to her happy home.

I have also had customers who lived in grand homes with every luxury you can imagine.

And some of them were miserable!

What was the main difference?


That woman in Tijuana thanked God she no longer had to deal with floods, or a leaking roof. She had a job and food for her family. Life for her was awesome.

That wealthy customer always looked at what he didn’t have. He strove for the next big deal. He was all business. Sure, he had fun with all his toys, but they never satisfied.

Each of us has so much to be thankful for.

Do you have food for your next meal?

Do you have a place to sleep?

Do you have friends?

Do you have breath in your lungs?

If you answered yes to any of those, you have something to be thankful for!

So, before I get caught up in the excitement of the season of the Advent of Christ, I will dwell on my blessings.

Then, I’ll be thankful for the biggest blessing of all, God’s arrival on Earth to redeem humanity.

And then I’ll decorate the house until it looks like Santa’s elves are moving in.

Awkward Thanksgiving

I didn’t want to be there. Yes, I loved my mom but my step father….

It was my junior year in college. I had spent the last two Thanksgivings at my dad’s in Fresno. Now Dad had moved to Southern California and Mom had moved back from Virginia to San Bruno, just an hour north of me.

I had to go.

To be honest, I remember almost nothing of that holiday. I don’t even remember if any of my siblings made it there.

The food was good. The conversation polite if strained. I declined the invitation to spend the night. My little quiet room in Mount Hermon was far more appealing.

Life almost 40 years later is different. I cherish the time with family. I may not see eye to eye with them on everything, but our love for each other far outweighs any differences in opinion. I want to be with them as much as I can.

Did I handle that Thanksgiving of 1984 correctly? I don’t know. I know the fact that I spent so little time there hurt my mom, but she knew that she wasn’t the reason I kept the visit brief.

I did manage to avoid arguing with my stepdad. But that was more because I knew I couldn’t win any arguments with him. That man was more stubborn than, well, than even me. And that’s saying something.

So why would I share this story of my dysfunctional family Thanksgiving? There’s a couple of reasons.

First, if your family is full of love, peace, and forgiveness, be sure to give an extra round of thanks to God and to your family. (Thanks Fam!)

Second, if your family is dysfunctional, you’re not alone! I would urge you to come to your family get-togethers with as much love and patience and forgiveness as you can muster with God’s help. Love heals, though it may take time.

If your family is at a point where getting together is not an option, I urge you to get together with someone. I heard earlier this week of a couple that just moved to a neighborhood from another country. They posted on Next Door that they would like to share Thanksgiving with a local family if anyone would open their home to them. They got over 200 invitations!

So, if you are alone this Thanksgiving, reach out to those around you. If you make the effort, you may just find the true meaning of family love.

Feel free to share in the comments on the social media posts for this blog if you need a place to celebrate Thanksgiving or if you are willing to open your home to those in need this Thanksgiving.

I confess I feel a little like a hypocrite writing this because, with an at-risk daughter visiting us that day, I cannot have people outside the family over on Thanksgiving. But if your situation allows you to share, you may be amazed at the blessings sharing will bring!