Did I ever tell you how much I LOVE traditions? For our family, there is no time to practice them like the holidays! Traditions usher in a sense of familiarity and excitement within this crew. We look forward each year to knowing just what the menu and schedule of events for Thanksgiving and Christmas will be.
Our menu for Thanksgiving Day has evolved over the years as each member of the family developed a love of their favorite dish. We bake both turkey and smoked ham, followed by a smorgasbord of seventeen other complementary dishes and desserts. It’s enough to feast on for days...and we do! A special bowl is selected each year, entitled “The Blessing Bowl”. Throughout the day of fun and fellowship, each member of the family finds their own intimate moment to steal away and add personal and unique tokens of gratitude to the bowl. After the Thanksgiving meal, our children with pen and paper in hand, excitedly compile their long, awaited Christmas lists.
When our children were small, Steve and I were part of the mentally unstable group who rolls out of bed sometime around 4:00 am to fight the crowds of BLACK FRIDAY. We loved that time together and took great pride in checking off the lists the kids had made the previous day and creatively deciding upon a new hiding place for this year’s gifts. That evening, our entire extended family meets for supper in town, foregoing the traditional turkey for at least one meal.
Every Saturday after Thanksgiving is reserved for ushering in the spirit of Christmas! We attend the matinee Christmas movie of the season and as the children have gotten older we have added the Christmas symphony to our list of fun. All to be followed by the lighting and decorating of our family tree and NO trimming of the tree would be complete without Christmas music and the smell of spiced cider brewing in the background.
As a favorite song suggests, “IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!”
There is absolutely no greater earthly treasure lavished upon us by the Father above like the gift of Family! The cords of love run so very deep! This week, I am thankful for every moment I’ve been given with each member of my family...living or deceased. The part each of you plays/played in my life has shaped my heart of gratitude. Everyone of you are/were special and unique, fashioned by our Great God unto good works and notable legacy. YOU ARE VALUABLE INDEED! This is the first year we will NOT be together, following our most-loved traditions, but as I travel know that YOU are in my heart, bringing memorable smiles to my face. May the satisfying and fulfilling love of God permeate your hearts with thanksgivings!
I LOVE YOU ALL, MY BLESSED FAMILY!
Jeneen, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Sister-in-law, and friend
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are MY disciples.”
Recently, the Lord impressed upon my spirit that HE desired to lavish His love upon me in fresh and new ways. He encouraged me to be watchful of all the new ways He chooses to showcase His love in my life personally. So, I have begun to watch!
One night shortly after, I was in prayer just communicating with my Lord and I said, “Father, as a mother, one of the most precious ways YOU can lavish Your love upon me would be to pour out Your love upon my children." To which, He very quickly responded, "Yes, I fully understand because the most precious way YOU can lavish your love upon ME is to love my other children as well.”
Suddenly, I wept! The love of a mother for her children runs so very deep! In fact, it is at the very core of who we are. Whenever another blesses my two beautiful children, it is as if they have blessed me personally. What the Lord spoke to me that night was such a revelation! I already knew that, as His disciples, we have been commanded to love our brothers and sisters, but what I did not realize was that the most extensive way to express our love to our Father is to lavish our love upon His “other children.” When we do so, it is as if we are lavishing our love upon Him personally!
"I tell you the truth, whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you have done it unto ME!" - Matthew 25:40
We live in a fast-paced, busy society where taking the time to love outside of our own selves, marriage and family must be performed with purpose. As humans, selfishness reigns. However, in Christ, we have been commanded to love and honor others above even our own selves. Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectionate toward each other with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another...
1. When was the last time I put another brother or sister’s needs above my
2. As I go about my daily routine, am I a reflection of my loving God to
others in countenance, as well as in actions? Do I smile at others? Do I take the time to grant a
3. How long has it been since I have blessed another brother or sister just
4. Am I loving the unloveable?
Father, I realize today that it is not even possible to count the ways of your love! I want to thank YOU for personally loving ME! I desire to become part of YOUR solution to those in my personal sphere of influence. Holy Spirit, make me mindful of Your "other children" and reveal fresh and new ways that I can lavish Your love upon them. May Your Name always be honored and glorified in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.