Thanksgiving Dinner

Read: Romans 12:9-16midweekmediationforwebsite

This week families all over our country will be gathering together for Thanksgiving dinner.  We look forward to the great food, the fellowship, the reunions, and the time of giving thanks.  What we don’t look forward to sometimes is where the various conversations may end up going.

Following a very controversial election season and many other issues that our culture and society are dealing with right now those conversations can sometimes become tense, unloving, and spiteful.  John Stonestreet from the radio program Breakpoint recently commented about times in which people say, “Let’s just agree to disagree.”  He said, “Instead, let’s agree to love each other and to pursue the truth together. That’s a much better way forward.”

Which leads me to say, why don’t we just get together and enjoy our family and friends this Thanksgiving instead of trying to solve all of the problems in our country and world.  Show love to each other, talk about what has been going on in your life, and try to avoid the areas of conflict and disagreement.  Sure, it is good to have calm, insightful dialogue at times, but if we know that it will inflame the conversation then it’s best just not to go there.

Kristin van Ogtrop wrote this recently in a Time magazine essay.  She said, “My fellow Americans, I propose a cleansing Thanksgiving.  No, not a juice cleanse, a cleanse of our national soul.  First, turn off cable news.  Just turn it off, and don’t turn it back on until the Inauguration.  Second, absolutely no political posts on your Facebook feed.  None!  Believe it or not, you will continue to exist even if your friends (or “friends”) aren’t reminded of your political views every day.

Finally, when you sit down to dinner on Thanksgiving, look at those around you and make yourself forget who you think they voted for.  Bow your head and give thanks that you don’t live in _________ (fill in the name of any one of dozens of countries on this planet that don’t have a democratic process).  Close your eyes and take a deep breathe deep enough to clear the cobwebs.  And, silently or aloud, tell yourself that you are grateful for the people at your table.  Because we’re all human, and most us are just doing our best.”

Kristin hits on many other things in her essay but it reminds me of Romans 12:9-10 that says, “Love must be sincere.  Hate was evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.”  Let’s practice those things around the Thanksgiving dinner table this week!  Cling to what is good and cling to what you love about those you have gathered together with to give thanks.

Make it personal:  When people try to bring up controversial subjects that might not end well this week try to steer the conversation in a different direction.   Find positive things to talk about, find positive things to affirm in the other person, if nothing else just talk about the weather outside.  Just remember to honor the other person.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church