Every year there are articles that come out ahead of the holidays, coaching people on how to argue with relatives who do not share their same political views. It's as if, rather than looking forward to family gatherings, we should be suiting up for battle and preparing talking points.
No wonder people get stressed out about the holidays.
How about this year, we take off the armor and enjoy actually seeing our loved ones face-to-face and building our relationships? That's what's becoming more of a rarity.
Technology has given us so much as far as quick accessibility to information, but it has also taken so much away from our interactions. For many folks, just being able to gather once or twice a year is a blessing. But it doesn't seem like it's treated as such.
Many of our fellow Americans will be alone on Thanksgiving. And at Christmas. And the rest of the year. And the year after that. If you have family or other loved ones to see, treat them like you actually want to see them. You are blessed to have them.
While dining out with a friend earlier this year, they observed, "You know, as far as living standards go, it is incredible what we enjoy here in the United States. The meal that we're having now is an unattainable luxury for most people in the world."
That statement hit me hard. I hadn't thought about it in that way before. What I looked at as a simple lunch date at a nice restaurant was something I was taking for granted. I knew that my friend was right — that in many places, it is a rarity. It didn't make me feel guilty, but it made me feel appreciative.
After that day, I began to look for other things in my life that I have taken for granted. In my prayers, I started spending more time thanking God for other "everyday things" luxuries. Things like running water, a warm bed, and yes, the people I love — and who love me — who have always been there.
When I gather around the table with family and friends this Thanksgiving, I'll be grateful for the food. And I'll be happy to have a place to go. And yes, I'll look forward to catching up and laughing together. It's natural for news and politics to come up during the discussion, but I won't be wearing any armor.
No matter what we discuss, I want my loved ones to leave feeling like I was grateful to see them, not forming their talking points for the next time.