10 Tips to Prepare for Thanksgiving
By Devi Titus
“She prepares her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table” (Prov. 9:2, NIV).
November requires a new seasonal schedule for most Christian families. We celebrate two of our three very important holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“She” in the above passage is wisdom. It is wisdom to prepare. Preparation is the key to your peace and pleasure as you celebrate your holiday with your family. Our lives are already filled with frenzied activities and time poverty.
It seems impossible to add one more thing. For this reason, we have rationalized and oversimplified our approach to these very important family days. The wisdom of the Word tells us the only way we can get the most out of such a special time of the year is to prepare.
Let’s begin with Thanksgiving, since it is our first holiday to celebrate.
Begin now with your preparation, and ask yourself these smart questions: Where will we eat Thanksgiving dinner? How many persons will be there? What are my responsibilities—to host the dinner, prepare food, take a hostess gift, receive hostess gifts?
Answer these questions now and begin. Also let me help you with a practical list if you will be hosting your celebration.
Smart Choices for Hostesses
1. Create a special environment for your family, the most important people in your lives. Whether you serve your meal on paper plates or grandma’s china, make your home welcoming and memorable for everyone who will be with you. Begin with your front door.
2. Prepare your pantry for the additional food items that holidays require.
3. Prepare your menus and grocery list. Begin purchasing special holiday ingredients early, several items each week, to avoid the last-minute rush and long lines.
4. Wisdom also “sets her table.” Decide what dishes you will use and how to place everyone at a table. You may need to use several tables and more than one set of dishes. Again, prepare. Borrow items that you need from family and friends and purchase in advance what you cannot rent or borrow.
5. Prepare your tables two days in advance. This gives you time for creativity and to learn if you have forgotten anything.
6. Prepare your serving dishes the day before your dinner. Write on paper the name of the food item that will be served in this dish and place it in the dish. Also choose the utensil that will be needed for each item and place it on that dish. This is good space planning and prevents dinner-day surprises.
7. Prepare all food items that need to be diced and chopped several days before your meal preparation. Look at your recipes and dice and chop everything possible. Bag and refrigerate. Set out baking dishes. This will ease your preparation.
8. Prepare your gift-wrap area to be organized for wrapping hostess gifts. Make a list of the items that you need. Only buy what you need. Most of us have leftovers from the year(s) before. Use them. Purchase a few items at a time while you are doing your Thanksgiving shopping.
9. Prepare and freeze foods that will not be compromised. For example, all dry stuffing ingredients can be combined and frozen in a bag. Bake and crumble your cornbread and crumble your dry bread or bread cubes and add your chopped veggies, dried fruits and seasonings. When you are ready to bake, just add your broth.
10. Prepare to enjoy. Relax and plan to have fun. Whatever happens on the day of celebration should not trump the purpose of gathering together—to give thanks.
Read a Redemption Story:
A desperate mother and wife attended a service where Devi was ministering the message, THE TABLE EXPERIENCE, in Brazil. She and her husband were both unemployed, in a deteriorating marriage, living in separate bedrooms. Their three children were out of control and the oldest son was illiterate and several grades behind in school. Their obstacles in life were seemingly insurmountable. Years of professional help, produced no results in her oldest son’s life. Consequently, this boy was often called “stupid” and both intellectually and emotionally, he was wounded.
After returning home from the ministry time with Devi, this woman unpacked her “guest-only” china, silverware and best tablecloth. In their home, there was a 6 seat dining table, although their family is only comprised of 5 people. They together, decided, that the 6th chair was for Jesus only. She cooked a meal and served the family. Right after dinner, God began moving in a special way, and the atmosphere of forgiveness was noticeable. They asked one another for forgiveness and they hugged each other and cried, vowing to make this a new start for their family.
Precisely 30 days after this change, her oldest son Douglas was riding in the car with her, and suddenly he said; “Mom, I can read what is on that billboard sign” and she said; “Really? Read it to me”, and he did. They both cried, glorifying the name of the Lord.
Months later, Douglas’ instructors called her up for a meeting. The school’s Principal, Coordinator and Psychologist were all present at that meeting. They were stunned by his rapid advancement. “We don’t know what happened, but your son has changed. Based on his age, we have decided to promote him two grades forward”, they said. Their family rejoiced with the good news.
Today, Douglas is at the head of his class. Several times his instructors have asked him to help tutor other students. He’s also involved in sports and has earned several trophies and medals. Her previously unemployed husband, who has both an undergraduate and a graduate degree, was offered a job in his field. Shortly after he began working, he was promoted to a supervisory position. Still, after so many difficult challenges, the Lord continues to bless them.
Describing their current situation in her own words, she said, “We are eternally grateful to Devi, if it wasn’t for God choosing her life to bless our lives, our family would have been divided by now. We have been sharing our personal testimony with other families in Brazil and we are still using the teachings of “The Table Experience”. We plan to make it a part of our home forever.