By Domenico Danesi
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is a wonderful simplicity to it. People get together with family and friends, enjoy a nice meal together, watch a football game or two, talk, and just relax. It saddens me that Thanksgiving is now essentially “skipped over”. Could it be that we are not thankful anymore? Have we as Christians fallen prey to the commercialism and craziness of the Holiday season? The Bible warns us that in the last days men would be unthankful (2 Timothy 3:2). People will stand in long lines even before Thanksgiving Day is over to get a deal on what is dubbed “Black Friday”. What kind of message does this give to our children? Philippians 4:6 states: “Be anxious for nothing (not even the best deals) but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Patience, prayer, and thanksgiving must be modeled. “Follow me” is a simple command, yet it is also deeply profound. Running over people at Best Buy or Target really does not set the best example of patience and thanksgiving. Our children are watching and listening to our every move. Are these the thanksgiving memories you want them to have?
What practical steps can we take as parents to ensure that our children learn patience and thanksgiving during the month of November? Here are a few suggestions: 1.) Have your family devotions center around thanks for November. Every year the Children’s Church curriculum in November is about being thankful. 2.) Enjoy Thanksgiving Day. Do not even mention Christmas on Thanksgiving, but let your children reflect on how much you all have to be thankful for. 2.) Have a set amount of money set aside for Christmas gifts. Don’t let your children see you consistently swiping credit cards to buy for others during November or December. 3.) Spread out your shopping. Start in early November and do not wait until the last minute to run around like a chicken with your head cut off. 4.) Remember that Jesus is truly the “reason for every season”, and take a breath.
The impatience and unthankful attitudes of the holidays is Anti-Christ. As parents we set the tone in our homes. Go against the “cultural grain” and make the month of November and specifically Thanksgiving Day a time of patience, prayer, and thanks in your home. Come up with a family tradition that your children will look forward to each year. Slow down on Thursday, November 26th, say a prayer with your family to begin the day, and simply be thankful as you enjoy the goodness of our God!
By Georgia Shaffer
Five friends and I were having breakfast one morning when our conversation turned to our friend Cindy.* She was convinced divorce was the answer to her problems. "I wish Cindy would listen to us," I said. "She made it clear she doesn't want to hear anything from us divorcées," said Betsy. "She's made up her mind, and she's not changing it."
That morning, in utter frustration, my friends and I compiled a list: what we wish we'd known before we got divorced—the things we wanted Cindy to know before she made her final decision. Each of us had experienced the upheaval of divorce and watched 12 of our close friends' second marriages end.
We all knew Cindy wasn't casually deciding to end her marriage—few people do. Divorce is one of the most agonizing choices a couple makes. We understood the anger, panic, abandonment, and feelings of being trapped that lead many people to divorce. But we'd also experienced the "other side" of being single again. We'd seen the lives of our children changed forever. Years later, we continue to live with the ongoing pain and complications of a destroyed marriage.
As a licensed psychologist, I've heard many people consider the possibility of ending their marriage. They look at divorce as a solution to their marital woes, a viable answer to their pain and frustration. Ultimately, however, it creates only different problems. In a recent study by the Institute for American Values chaired by sociologist Linda Waite of the University of Chicago, researchers asked, "Does divorce make people happy?" They found that those who ended their troubled marriage in divorce weren't any happier than those who remained married. In fact, two-thirds of those who stayed married reported happy marriages five years later.
Here's the list we compiled for Cindy.
1. Life Will Change More than You Realize
"I thought I'd enjoy being alone," says Lori, who has never remarried. "But I'm lonely. Whenever my friends complain about how needy their husbands or children are, I say, 'Try living without that.'"Read more ...