By Martha Strong
Special to GUIDON
I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving with family and friends this year, and that you took time to give thanks to the Lord who blesses us throughout the year.
Giving thanks was the intent when the annual holiday was established more than 150 years ago by President Abraham Lincoln.
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time to be focused on family.
We plan holiday leave to be with family; we gather gift lists from family members, shop for family gifts, send cards to family and share family traditions in decorating, cooking and holiday activities.
Some families celebrate the 25 days before Christmas with Advent calendars that hold special treats for each day, or by lighting candles on an Advent wreath and reading daily scripture verses and devotions.
What traditions do you want to start or continue this year?
Many celebrations with family and friends center around a meal.
Great family gatherings are an investment.
The word investment comes from a military term meaning “full siege.” It can seem like a military campaign for the head of the kitchen who plans and carries out the preparations for a family event.
Exhibiting love and joy as fruits of the spirit in the middle of carrying out holiday festivities can be a challenge for everyone.
Yet with an infusion of prayer for patience, an investment of time, energy and resources can bring a return of good memories for all in attendance.
The gift of saying “remember when” depends on what is done now.
Some homes are havens of security and love while others are tense with strife.
As it says in Proverbs 17:1, “better a dry morsel in quiet, than a house of feasting with strife.”
Take it to God in prayer this Christmas season that all who gather will be blessed by a spirit of love and joy.
Appreciate all who are gathered together for the many blessings they bring to your life and that you are able to impart to theirs.
Time is precious, and we don’t know who will be celebrating at our table and who will be celebrating at the throne of God next Christmas.
Pray for restoration of relationships that are broken, and work to strengthen the relationships that you hold dear.
Most of all, celebrate and share the blessing of the birth of the savior with others.
(Editor’s note: Strong is the director of religious education at the Fort Leonard Wood Religious Services Office.)