The Middle Child of Holidays

Face it.  Thanksgiving is the middle child of holidays.

People make a great fuss about Halloween.  Of course they do; it's the first-born.  First-borns make us "parents for the first time."  It's likely you've wrapped that statement in a prayer for your first-born.  You were teary-eyed when you said it, too.  Your other children all but wonder why you didn't affirm that obvious piece of information about them.  After all, they made you parents for the second and fifth time.  Likewise, Halloween inaugurates the holiday season.  It's like National Blueberry Popsicle Month doesn't exist.  Spooky costumes and candy corn have this strange way of prepping us for Christmas.

And Christmas can do no wrong.  Duh!  The baby of the family gets away with everything.  You don't have to have a baby sibling to know that.  Just watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off again.  Everyone thinks the babies are so cute.  By the way, that drives older siblings crazy because they (we) know better.  If you don't think that applies to Christmas, ask yourself why we sing Away in the Manger so many times before and after December 25th.  I wasn't there, but I'm guessing that fleeing from an imperial killer and having a stable-birth cannot be that cutesy!

In the middle of the excitement of Monster Mash and Charlie Brown's tree creeps in Thanksgiving.  Sure, we know it's there.  We love it unconditionally.  We don't mean for it to appear like we forgot about it.  In fact, when the day comes we'll do what it takes to make it perfect.  In the mean time, we're still regretting the Halloween pounds and beginning to stress about that fact that Christmas is almost here.  Middle children understand.  They've heard it all before.

I have a middle child.  Somehow, someway, no matter the effort I give to make it otherwise the middle child syndrome makes frequent appearances in my home.  Still, I'm determined to make sure that child knows how important she is and how much she means to me and our family--and, ultimately, to God.  I think it's time we realize how much we've neglected our holiday middle child.

Considering all that God has done for us, giving thanks is a meaningful part of life and faith.  Undoubtedly, someone will remind you that is something we do everyday and not just on one holiday.  It may be annoying when they say it, but they are right.  "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1).  God's faithfulness lasts forever.  So, our thanksgiving should endure more than the last Thursday of November.  But maybe that one day can teach us something important so that we can learn to give thanks more often. You may have to put a little effort into it.  There's only so much football and overeating can teach an American.  Find/make/renew a tradition to make thanksgiving the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Just know, however, that people considerately wait until after Halloween to ask if you're getting ready for Christmas.  Thanksgiving gets no such R-E-S-P-E-C-T.   But you've got thanksgiving on your mind.  So, when they do ask that question before Advent,  you just ask them what they have against your middle child.

How can you make Thanksgiving (the holiday) more meaningful, and thanksgiving (lower case t, the way of life) more frequent?

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