March 18 • 10:42 PM

Holiday season prompts simple musings

November 04, 2009
Here it is, folks—countdown to Thanksgiving and Christmas. In our tradition, those are pretty big events, though in recent years we have combined them for ease in getting our children all together at one time. We don't do a lot as far as gift-giving is concerned, though I have begun to stockpile some wonderful below $10—hands-on things from Learning Depot. I'm envisioning that game we play at showers sometimes—I'm a little rusty on the rules but I think it involves two decks of cards. Everyone sits in a circle except for the caller. Each player has a card—except for the caller who holds the other deck. As the caller calls your number, you get to pick a gift (wrapped or unwrapped) from the middle of the circle. That gift is yours unless someone decides to steal it as opposed to from picking from the stash. I've heard of families doing this, which in reality is more about the activity—with its wonderful mixing quality— than about the gifts, and having a silly competition over something like a can of air freshener. That family included the adults—I haven't decided yet whether to do just the kids, to do the whole gang, to have a separate round for the adults—but I guess I should hurry up and decide as I have less than a month to get it figured out! Whoah!!! Where has the time gone?

My thoughts have drifted more, though, toward the Thanksgiving aspect of our combined celebration. Because of a little vignette by Sheila Walsh—written and originally included in 'Contagious Joy' and later also published in a compilation of laughter-inducing stories in a book called 'Sharing a Laugh' (published by Thomas Nelson, copyright 2007). I have this little kernel of wisdom to pass on to the rest of you.

The title of the chapter is Filling Your Blessing Basket; her premise is that we can choose how to think, dwelling on stuff and letting it drag us down, or we can thank God for the simple gifts of grace He gives us every day—if we have a heart to see them.

Sheila's first line was: "I was born in Scotland, went to college in London, England, and first set foot on American soil ...when I was twenty years old."

That line is important as she recalls one of her funny stories, as you will see in a minute.

Her first story, though, involved the time the family dog dropped one of her new pale blue suede pumps down the toilet. Rather than dwelling on that too long, she quipped, "I can celebrate the gift of her sweet face, loving nature, and commitment to follow me wherever I go."

Another incident she shares is of her very first Thanksgiving meal here--in a hotel where she was staying. "I visited the dessert table and picked up what I thought was treacle tart or my very favorite, sticky toffee pudding in pie form. When I put that first, most delectable forkful in my mouth, I nearly had a fit.

"'What is this?' I whispered to an American friend who was eating with me.

"'It's pumpkin pie,'" she answered.

"'Pumpkin as in 'look at all those pumpkins in the vegetable patch, Charlie Brown?'" I asked.

"'Right, pumpkin pie; it's Thanksgiving!'" she said.

"'That's disgusting!'" I replied. "'Do they have any Brussels sprouts pie? Or how about some green bean pie?'"

Sheila adds, "Despite my disgust with the 'vegetable-in-sheep's-clothing' thing, Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite days of the year. I love that it's not sullied by receiving gifts, but rather it's a time to stop and thank God for every gift He has lavished on us every day....And just think, in Scotland we are told to eat our vegetables before we get dessert; here in America you get to do both at the same time. You are loved!"

Castle Creek
03 - 18 - 19
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