Overlapping precariously close this year are Thanksgiving Day followed three short days later by the first Sunday of Advent. Preparing for Advent has always taken a back seat for me because our Thanksgiving holiday is like a family reunion. It’s the one time a year my three brothers and their families, all our married kids and their broods gather with my mom at our family farm that’s been in the family since the 1850s. Usually it’s the ONLY time we are together all year.
Sharing food prep tasks among us all has made feeding 30 to 40 people on Thanksgiving Day doable. I always bring a triple batch of my maternal grandmother’s cornbread dressing, a double batch of cheese grits and a pie or two, including raisin pie which was my dad’s favorite. Even though he’s now in heaven I bake one in honor of him every year.
But juggling the collective meal and sleeping space needs is all-consuming for the three days we are together. And joining as many conversations as possible keeps many of us up way past our bedtimes. It is so worth it. But doing anything else such as planning for Advent is impossible.
Here is an easy way to do both, even if you too have a huge crowd on Thursday’s day of gratitude.
First, decide today what your plan is for Advent. Think through when on the next four Sundays you can collect your family together around a simple way to focus on Jesus in anticipation of His birthday celebration.
One very easy solution is our His Advent Names ornaments. Four globes printed with four names of Jesus describing His rescue mission for you and me can be waiting to hang on your tree or placed in a glass bowl in a nest of greens, one each Sunday. The set comes with a small book with four stories to read, one for each globe.
Second, decorate four lunch sacks with the numbers 1 to 4. Have your kids color them or let them add glitter and stickers or whatever will keep them occupied.
Third, place one globe ornament in each sack nested on a pile of raffia or other shredded packing material to signify the manger. Set the four filled sacks on your fireplace mantle or your kitchen table with the little book or the downloaded stories ready on your phone or ipad.
Voila! You are ready for Advent a week before it begins.
Now you can work on your turkey!
May you enjoy this season of gratitude and praise to our God for His unlimited goodness to you and yours.