Well, it’s December. The Holiday Season is in full swing now. That means I better be prepared for a few parties.
Time to roll: sausage balls, cheese balls and meatballs. The wholefamily can get involved, it’s become a fun part of our annual traditions.
Sausage Cheese Balls
These quick and nutritious protein packed snacks are easy and relatively cheap to make. They bake quickly and can be frozen for up to three months.
The most recognized recipe is the Bisquick sausage cheese ballrecipe, but there are many other varieties. For those that would rather stay away from pork, consider using ground beef, groundturkey, or chicken cooked with sage, onion, and garlic.
If desired, use a variety of cheeses. The traditional recipe calls for cheddar. However a mixture of Colby, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella can be used too. Most recipes call for a balance between the meat and the cheese. Some families prefer 1 part meat to 2 or 3 parts cheese. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
For a fun twist to a plateful of sausage balls, provide a variety of dipping sauces: honey mustard, spicy mustard, BBQ sauce, cocktail sauce, Ranch Dressing, ketchup, and marinara Sauce.
If the meat can be ground up, it can be made into a meatball. Over the years, chefs and cooks alike have come up with several variations on the basic ground meatball. The Italians like to addpork, Italian sausage, and veal to their meatball mixture. SwedishMeatballs have been a main dish on family tables for generations. Those that like to spice it up have added jalapeno peppers into the mix.
Basically though, meatballs are easy and cheap to make. Don’t buy the pre-made frozen ones at the grocery store unless there is just no time to cook. Find a meatball recipe that works for the family. Make several batches,bake and then freeze family size portions infreezer bags until ready to use. Meatballs can be enjoyed as snacksor appetizers. They make great sandwiches and of course they always go well with pasta.
Basic Meatball Recipe:
1 lb ground beef, pork, turkey, chicken, sausage, or a blend of desired ground meats
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
salt, pepper, and season to taste depending on the flavordesired
Mix ground beef with beaten egg, bread crumbs, and seasoning. Mix well
Add onion and ketchup until well blended.
Shape into 1″ balls and place on a large sheet pan. Cover the pan with foil or cooking spray for easy clean up later.
Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. Let rest and cool completely before serving or bagging for the freezer.
For a gourmet twist on traditional meatballs, roll meatball mixture around a small piece of Blue Cheese or a cheese cube of Colby, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella. It’s like a wonderful explosion of flavors in your mouth!
Olive Cheese Balls
This is a tangy, cheesy, party appetizer straight out of the Betty Crocker archives. For generations, mothers, grandmothers, and aunts have made this their traditional holiday snack. It’s definitely not low in calories, but it’s oh-so-good!
It’s an easy recipe of butter, cheese, and flour shaped and formed into a dough. That dough can be rolled into balls or sticks. Shape it into anything desired. Don’t like olives? Try mushrooms in the center or a cheese cube or even a mini meatball. Again, be creative.
More Holiday Appetizer Ideas
This is the time of year when finger foods are really fun. Appetizersdon’t have to be extravagant and expensive. Flavor a block of cream cheese with chives. Shape it into a ball and roll that ball in chopped pecans, slivered almonds, or walnuts. Use it as a centerpiece for a plateful of various crackers, breads, and chips.
That same cream cheese can be spooned onto wonton wrappers and baked or fried quickly for a light snack. Other traditional appetizer recipes include: pigs in a blanket and cocktail sausagesserved with flavorful dips and sauces.
Each year, there’s always something new to try. What are your holiday party favorites? What new and fun party favorites have you found? Go ahead, share your recipe. Let’s keep this party hopping!
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As you know, I love this time of the year. I get so excited! I just want to share it with everybody!
I especially enjoy inviting people into my home during the Christmasseason. If I’m not careful, that can get expensive, but it’s so much fun.
Go ahead and throw that big holiday party. With a little creativity, anyone can plan a frugal but fun, festive event. Keep these key points in mind.
Keep it simple.
Watch holiday grocery ads for great deals on holiday foods.
Let guest help by bringing their favorite holiday dishes,Christmas music, and games.
Simple Rules For Entertaining
Plan a simple and inexpensive menu. Fancy and elaborate food may not necessarily be the way to go. If the guests lists includes a mix of children, older adults, and those in between, keep it basic.
Drink Station – Always have ice water, tea, lemonade, and both regular & decaf coffee ready to serve.
Bring A Dish – If guests ask if they can bring food, let them. It gives guests a feeling of satisfaction to feel they have contributed somehow. It’s also a way to get to know someone better. Perhaps a guest has a special traditional dish they would like to share with others. It also helps the hostess if guests have allergies or special dietary requirements.
Cutlery & Tableware – When cooking for a crowd, use nice disposable plates, napkins, and cutlery. Save time on clean up later. However, if it is just a small intimate gathering of friends, break out the good china. If desired, mix and match pieces. Remember to make it look nice and inviting, but don’t go to too much trouble. What matters most is the time with friends.
Holiday Decorations – Simple and elegant, that should be the focus for holiday decorating. If the furniture being used is wood tone or solid wood, show it off. Decorate with simplewhite candles and pieces of holiday garland or silk poinsettias. These are so simple for buffets. If folding tables have to be used, decorate with simple disposable tablecloths, holidaydecorations, and candles.
Keep It Simple – Relax, have fun, turn the music on, and keep the mood light. No one will have a good time if the hostess is overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out. Ask your guests to bring their favorite music and games. Be sure to have a few coloring books, kid’s games, and puzzles available for the younger guests.
Holiday Buffet Ideas
A simple holiday buffet usually consists of two or more meat or main dish choices, a platter of vegetables and an arrangement of crackers, breads, cheeses, dips, spreads, and desserts. Make iteasy.
Meats and Main Dishes – When hosting a large group, stick with the basic turkey and ham. Watch local grocery sale ads for holiday meat sales and stock up on ham and turkey for that special party. Don’t feel like cooking? Keep an eye on deli prices too. Deli ham and turkey freezes well and can be thawed in the refrigerator the day before the party. If the dinner party is a small one, consider providing a main dish that acts abuffet centerpiece too. Enchiladas and lasagna are two main dish options that make great centerpieces and can be done simply and inexpensively.
Vegetable Tray – Carrots and celery go a long way. Buy thebaby carrots in a bag at the grocery store, but buy the celery whole on the stalk and cut it up fresh. Broccoli and cauliflower are usually easier to buy by the bag already chopped. Cucumbers and green peppers will need to be bought whole and sliced fresh right before the party. Arrange with black & green olives and sweet & dill pickles on a nice serving tray. Offer Ranch Dressing and salsa for dipping.
Desserts – A smaller, separate table can be set up to display the dessert buffet. Provide a variety of options. Christmascookies, brownies, and fudge are always holiday hits. A traditional hostess will probably offer a few cakes and pies too. Have a few holiday chocolates and candies available, and don’t forget the candy canes. This might be a good place to station the hot coffee, hot cocoa, hot tea, or apple cider.
Appetizers and Snacks – The buffet wouldn’t be complete without crackers, cheese, chips and dip. If the hostess desires, mini quiche, sausage balls, meatballs, and other appetizersmay be placed on the holiday buffet.
Above all, relax and have a great time. Remember, when it’s all said and done, what matters most is not the food or the decorations, but the special time spent with family and friends.
Readers Share : Holiday Party Ideas & Tips
I’m always looking for new ideas. Tell me what you are planning this year. Post your ideas, your recipes, themes, decoration ideas, pictures, cost, etc. Have any frugal tips for throwing a great holidayparty? Please share!
by Jerry Ousley
Ah those wonderful Thanksgiving dinner leftovers! They are just as good the day after as the day of, at least in my opinion. I can eat turkey sandwiches for a week after Thanksgiving and not tire of them. It is the week after Thanksgiving. Many have left the warm confines of their homes and ventured out into the wild world of Black Friday. Some were out at midnight for those specially advertised sales. Others have been waiting in line since way before daylight.
But not me; nope I have made it a rule for myself to do everything possible to never even leave home on the day after Thanksgiving. If at all possible I'm staying in, watching movies and yes, eating on those delectable Thanksgiving leftovers. I might even watch the news to see how shoppers have fared on their day-after excursions. Some of the stories are tragic and others just plain old funny. On either end of the stick I'm glad that I'm not one of the stories.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't have anything against those who enjoy the Black Friday experience - To each his own. I really hope they find what they are looking for and have a wonderful time in the process. Folks it just isn't my cup of tea and I don't think you'll ever find me out in the crowd. If you need me, I'll probably be right here at home.
The word "leftovers" often doesn't get the right rating. A lot of people snarl their nose at leftovers. In the Bible there were two times when a miracle of Jesus produced leftovers. Once He had fed five thousand people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread and on another occasion the number was three thousand with the same menu. Each time there was more leftovers than what He originally started with. You know what; I think I might have liked to have tried those Heavenly leftovers.
In Nehemiah 12:46 we read, "For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God." The people were remembering how it had been during the days of David and Asaph. The offices of the singers were very important to these men in the worship of God. After their thanksgiving celebration the people of Israel under Nehemiah's direction were trying to duplicate that so as to re-establish the wonderful worship of days gone by. In a sense they were making an attempt to stretch the leftovers of their own worship for the coming days. I believe that was a good thing.
When we have an unusually good time of worship with our Lord we want to bask in the leftovers of that experience, and we should. That wonderful feeling of worship and closeness to God is something we want to last on and on. It makes us to want to stretch that experience until the next one. It's a Heavenly leftover that we can always look forward to.
I pray that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I sincerely hope that things went well for you and you made memories that will serve as pleasant leftovers for a long time to come. We should desire those kinds of leftovers. We need to cherish those times and remember them in our hearts. We never know when tragedy may strike and take away some of those family members we love. But we can always relive those good times in our minds.
It's the same with our spiritual thanksgiving. Those times well spent with our Lord serve as pleasant memories that can encourage us in days to come. Hold fast to them. Never forget them. Keep them close to your heart. Then draw from them as the need arises. Of course there will be new experiences in the Lord. We'll have more good times to come. But never forget them and always give thanks.
Jerry D. Ousley is the Author of five books, "Soul Challenge", "Soul Journey" "Ordeal" "The Spirit Bread Daily Devotional" and his first novel "The Shoe Tree." Listen to the daily broadcast Spirit Bread. Find out more by visiting www.spiritbread.com
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Here at Econobusters, we’ve set a priority that in all, Christ comes first, and in this month’s Molly Green Magazine, “Molly Makes Merry”, we have tried to help you keep Christ in Christmas with God and family first.
With that said, I do understand there comes a time when shoppinghas to be done. Let’s take a moment to discuss Christmas shopping strategies and gift giving ideas.
For most of the nation, the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is the biggest shopping day of the year. However, you won’t find me out among the crowds. I usually try to make or buy most of giftsbefore Thanksgiving, and then I spend the weekend with my familydecorating our home for the holidays.
As a busy mom, I do quite a bit of my shopping online. Give it a try, stay home this year and shop online. There are many great dealsand incentives on the web. In fact, sometimes, with free shipping, the online deals can be better than the in-store door-busters.
Shopping for Christmas can be fun and I enjoy the hunt for the perfect gift for someone special, but are the Black Friday deals really worth the stress, frustration, and madness? I say,”No, it is not for me.”
As time allows, brew up a pot of coffee or heat up some hot cocoaand get cozy. Shop for what you must from the comforts of home and the power of the web.
Black Friday Deals Online
Computer-based retailers and traditional chain retailers have been listing Black Friday ads, deals and incentives for weeks. Many offer free shipping and are offering Black Friday deals online starting Thanksgiving Day.
When I’m looking for something, the first two places I look areAmazon & Ebay. These are the #1 search sites on the internet for media, books, electronics, games, DVDs, and music CDs.
Amazon has expanded to sell everything from toys to household items, but it is still a front-runner for media and electronics. Many items are being offered at 40%-50% off, and most items qualify for free shipping with a $25 purchase. This is a good place to start shopping for Nitendo DS, Xbox, and PS3 games. Also, hard to find toys like Lego sets can easily be purchased on Amazon and shipped straight to the recipient. Some items can be gift wrapped as well.
Another place I frequent is Walmart.com. Many of the same deals you find in store are also listed online but with free shipping to your home or your nearest Walmart location (Site to Store). The nice thing about Walmart.com is that if you need to return the item, for any reason, you don’t have to ship it back. It can be returned, refunded, or exchanged at your local store.
Looking for electronics? Check out Bestbuy.com. For large and small appliances, don’t forget Sears.com. I found a Kenmore stand mixer (equivalent to a KitchenAid), on sale for $100 last year!
Frugal Online Shopping
Almost every store in America now has a website for online shopping. However, do beware of shipping charges. You’ll save gasmoney by staying home, but that savings may disappear after paying shipping charges from online retailers. Look for free shipping incentives.
Retailers are desperate for sales. Black Friday sales aren’t necessarily the best deal. As the holidays get closer, more deals and bargains will be posted online.
Look For and Create Other Gift Options
A gift is a gift, and it really is the thought that counts. So many of us are struggling just to pay the bills, keep a roof over our heads, and food on our tables. There are no rules to gift giving. The best gift is a gift from the heart.
If you enjoy baking or crafts, find a way to make your gifts this year. Many women I know knit, crochet, make soaps, or candles. These are all great gift ideas. Don’t bust the budget or go into debtjust to give someone gift for Christmas. Some of the best gifts are free gifts. In fact, the best gift I ever received was FREE INDEED.
Remember, keep Christ in Christmas.
Please Share Your Christmas Gift Giving Strategies!
We want to hear from you. Are you planning to shop Friday? What’s your strategy? What deals have you found? Are you shopping in stores, online, or both? Do you make your ownChristmas gifts? If so, please share with us your creations. We’d love to hear about your gifts “from the heart.”
by Pam Ford Davis
Thanksgiving morning begins with memories of Dad. He opened the door to the formal entrance to our house used only for storage. There he retrieved the turkey from the frigid room, and carried it to Mom in the kitchen.
Another day's formal meal preparation would begin. The oven door would open and close for hours as Mom basted and checked a turkey large enough for our family of seven.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade drew the attention of not only the Ford children, but Mom as well. She worked her way from the kitchen to living room for frequent peaks at the only television in the house. Sounds of fire engine sirens and marching bands filled the air as the aroma of turkey made me anxious for dinner.
The time finally arrived. We gathered around the informal kitchen table made festive only on holiday observances and waited for Dad to lead in grace. Then we filled our plates with white or dark turkey, mashed potatoes swimming in gravy, turnips or parsnips, squash, green beans, jellied cranberries, and hot buttered rolls. It could not be better, or could it?
Fresh baked pies, prepared the day before made the day complete. Variety of tastes led to a selection including cherry, mincemeat, and pumpkin. My favorite then and now is pumpkin. A few years ago, I learned that of all pies, pumpkin is the most healthy choice. I realize that dollops of whipped cream or scoops of ice cream may nullify the benefits, but it does ease the guilt! Thanksgiving is a time of mingled memories with family and friends. In my thoughts, we are all together once more.
With God all things are possible! Published articles in Mature Living Magazine, Secret Place, Daily Devotionals for the Deaf, Light from the Word Daily Devotional. Available now in book store: FORGET-ME-NOT DAILY DEVOTIONAL http:/ebooks.faithwriters.com/ebook-details.php?id=520
From the Molly Green Magazine http://econobusters.com/creative_ways_to_celebrate_thanksgiving/
For most Americans, Thanksgiving is all about the perfect meal and the football games afterwards. Want to try something new and different? Let’s get creative!
This year, try to focus more on making memories with family and friends. Invite neighbors or college students who may be celebrating the holiday alone. Volunteer to serve dinner at a homeless shelter. Share with people in need.
Serve Non-Traditional Foods on Thanksgiving Day
Who says turkey is a must for Thanksgiving? There are manyAmericans who would rather not have a day of turkey. Surprisefamily and friends with something new. Spice up Thanksgiving dinnerwith a new meat. Try turducken, pot roast, or fried chicken. Grill seafood and steak. Bake a lasagna or roll tamales.
The priority of the day is not the menu but the fellowship! Here are a few menu suggestions:
- Turducken – As odd the name may sound, a turducken is achicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey. It’s not difficult to make, just time consuming. It makes for a beautifuldinner centerpiece. Each slice reveals chicken, duck, and turkeysurrounded in stuffing. This is a Cajun specialty. Consider using oyster and sausage stuffing.
- Venison – Most people consider venison to be a term used fordeer. The only two foods that are officially documented as being part of the first Thanksgiving meal were venison and wild fowl. There are many ways to prepare deer meat. Consider making deer chili orchicken-fried deer steak. Deer chili would be the easiest and an excellent choice for colder climates. Provide crackers, chips, corn bread, and shredded cheese.
- Lamb – Give the traditional American meal a Middle Eastern, Greek, or Oriental flare by braising a lamb. Serve with a side of steamed asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes for an unforgettable dinnerexperience. Left-overs can be used to make lamb stew.
- Spaghetti and Lasagna – Create an Italian feast in honor of Christopher Columbus who, after all, was Italian . Many people enjoy pasta, especially children. Leftovers can easily be frozen. For a special treat, serve spumoni or Italian ice for dessert
- Have a cook out. This may not be an option up in the northern states, but down in the warmer south, it could be a great time of fellowship!
After-Dinner Entertaining and Activities
The meal was a success. Don’t let the festivities stop there. Plan several activities to keep guests entertained. Consider an afternoon walk or nature hike.
Set out several different board games and puzzles. Make sure there’s something to entertain guests of all ages. Coloring sheets and arts & crafts might be provided for younger children. Older adults tend to gravitate toward multi-player card games and Dominos. Some prefer to just sit and talk.
Keep the conversation running smoothly by having a list of topics on hand. Avoid discussions about world issues, politics, and religion. Provide a few whole group games like charades, Mad Gab, orPictionary.
Creative Thanksgiving Day Activities
- Participate in a local Thanksgiving Day race. Many communities holdTurkey Trots to raise money for local charities.
- After the dinner, treat everyone present to a movie at the local movie theater, or have a special movie at home on hand. There are many Christian family movie options available through Netflix.
- Bring the Christmas decorations out and invite friends & family to help decorate the home for the holiday season. Many families, due to traveling restraints, combine Thanksgiving and Christmas into one celebration.
How Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving?
“We want to hear from you. How do you plan to celebrate this Thanksgiving? Are you traveling? Where? What’s on the menu and what activities do you have planned? Please share. I’m always looking for new ideas!”
by Wangari Murathe
I magnify your name O Jehovah El Roi, for you know me by name,
Thank you for this day, it is rainy and cloudy, a promising break form the months of dry weather and food crisis for our nation.
I thank you for all of my blessings:
My life; every breath I take is by your grace. Help me every minute of every day to do your will; and to be kind and thoughtful to others.
My salvation; which gives my life divine purpose. Help me increase faith in you and love for all.
My good health; which gives me energy to enthusiasm to enjoy life and all you have given me. Help me to use my strength to serve
My family; who love and support me. Do not fail to keep them safe and reveal your saving grace to each one of them. I pray that I always shore up their hope in me. Increase in us the happiness that families should enjoy, and help others who live in abuse and mistreatment from those closest to them.
My friends; whose companionship, sharing, humor and advice ease my life's burdens. Help that I am always patient and forgiving in my relationships.
My home, where I can enjoy quiet times with you, rest in warmth and belonging, and feel loved. Help that everybody that steps into my home feels joyful and welcome.
My good neighbors; whose strong community spirit increases my comfort and security. Help me to always be there for them; to offer my shoulder and generosity.
My work and mission; which gives me the challenges and opportunities to grow. How I pray that I may lead others to hope and rest in you.
Information everywhere: to make it easier to seek your wisdom, comfort and strength. I pray that you help me to discern and heed your advice
Food on the table: to give me health and strength to serve you and others. Help me to always do my best to those who have less.
Clothes on my back: to give me protection from the elements, adornment, dignity and definition. May they never detract others from my testimony. I pray that you help others in want and in the wisdom of determining how best to show off your temple- their bodies.
my country and the beauty of your creation all around me.
Lord you are so good to me. Help me to become more like you.
In Christ Name
Copyright Wangari Murathe. All rights reserved.
Wangari Murathe has a passion for inspiration and empowerment through Christian writing. Visit http://www.faithfood.net/ for more Daily Devotionals and inspirational Christian stories and articles. She can also be contacted at email@example.com
by Minnie Hawkins
Each year it seems as if the holidays are in a race to see which one finishes in first place. Some appear to move very fast while a few are barely in the race.
New Year's Day always gets first notice by default. Many people resolve to start something different such as going on diets, frequenting gyms, and making general lifestyle changes. Then, the holiday is over along with commitments for change.
Next, we give a nod to MLK Jr.'s birthday in mid-January. There are the obligatory parades and ceremonies in different cities across the country as we recall the public battles and the final victory for racial equality.
Ah, then there's Groundhog Day on the 2nd of February. Not even the Groundhog Day movie could keep life in that holiday. It gets a 30 second mention on morning news shows while reporters pretty much tolerate having to cover it.
Valentine's Day temporarily sprints out front in the race year after year. 2011 is a good example. According to figures in MintLife.com, spending per benefactor ranged from $112.54 in Pittsburgh to $160.41 in Phoenix. That's a pretty good haul for florists, candy sellers, and jewelers, therefore those who received gifts were not the only ones who were happy. The day after Valentine's Day, candy goes on sale for 50% off and that makes candy lovers and candy sellers happy. Kudos for everybody.
Along comes Presidents' Day. The only people who seem to make a big deal out of it, at least in my area, are retailers who sell furniture and bedding. Not much fanfare there. The first of April still brings out foolishness in a few people but most of us ignore it because there's enough silliness going on every day that we don't need a special day to honor it.
Easter, or Resurrection Day, as it is otherwise known, can be in March or April. It's the day when we Christians celebrate one of the most important events that has ever happened, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It's funny that we celebrate his resurrection but as a society, make his birth an abstraction. This holiday is one of the few times each year when some people actually attend a church service. If it is, God loves them, still welcomes them, and desires to see more of them.
Little mention is given to St. Patrick's Day, Earth Day, Columbus Day, Arbor Day, etc. They fall in with the pack and seem to be celebrated only by local groups and ethnicities. The associated money is poured into local economies.
Some holidays, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day, get a different type of recognition and we would probably be considered unpatriotic if we didn't celebrate them. Most of us keep our U.S. flags from year to year and use them in festivities so these holidays are not big money makers. We simply feel good inside when we celebrate them.
Children would probably be disowned if they forgot Mother's or Father's Days, not to mention Grandparent's Day, which appears to be picking up financial steam.
Oh that Halloween! It gallops pass Valentine's Day with ease. Retailers start putting out merchandise in July or earlier and the public is bewitched by it. One local retailer actually placed the Halloween goods right next to the Independence Day merchandise. I found that odd but was in the minority, it seemed.
According to a National Retail Federation survey, the public planned to spend approximately 6.8 billion dollars on candy, decorations, and kid and adult costumes in 2011. These figures will surpass 2010 spending. Looks like we have a winner by more than a nose!
Christmas has become a generalized concept and as such is joined with New Years to become the holiday season. Wouldn't want to offend anyone by actually referring to it by its name. I wonder how Jesus feels about this snubbing since we chose December 25th to celebrate His birthday. Now it seems, he doesn't get one. I guess it's sort of like having someone important to you decide to disregard your birthday, or worse yet, like a mother with several children who decides to celebrate all their birthdays at the same time. It leaves me feeling sad.
Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday. When I visit local stores, including national chains, I have to search for Thanksgiving decorations. When I actually find them, they are displayed on small 4' by 4' tables, jammed in some out of the way corner. I dare you to try and find a respectable table centerpiece that can be used from year to year. You had better be willing to settle for a plastic cornucopia and some fall colored leaves or be prepared go home and make one for yourself.
If it were not for the football games in the afternoon and the food served earlier in the day, I suppose Thanksgiving would get no recognition at all. Of course, food is where the high dollars are spent for this holiday.
Black Friday is the real holiday. Thanksgiving is just a convenient means under which to hide it. Retailers start planning the best way out of the gates a year in advance. The Internet is filled with tips to make the shopping experience successful, with success defined by how much money each shopper spends. How early should stores open? Should they even close for Thanksgiving? Consumers have to decide if they should call ahead to check quantities - like they are really going to answer the phone. Shoppers must also decide if items they are looking for are door-busters or regularly stocked ones.
Some store managers have decided to open for business on Thanksgiving Day. Potential shoppers can eat and watch the football games at home and then go shopping. After all, employees are so grateful to have jobs these days, they won't mind sacrificing being with family and friends. (Well there's the silver lining but it's a strange way to bring about a spirit of gratitude.)
Thanksgiving is due more respect than we give it. It's rooted in our country's history as far back as the sixteenth century when Spaniards hosted a celebration in territories that are now part of the USA. The colony of Virginia, established in 1607, had as part of its charter to observe a yearly day of thanksgiving for the safe arrival of ships. The day was to be kept holy to show gratitude to God. Year after year, the holiday was celebrated. President Abe Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day in 1863 during the Civil War in hopes of improving the nation's cohesiveness. Each President followed suit in declaring a day of gratitude with FDR finally fixing the date as the fourth Thursday of November each year so it would not shift to different weeks or months from year to year.
Perhaps our lack of honoring Thanksgiving and recognizing our generous God for his blessings are the results of determinations to push him out of our society. The minority element that wants him removed has been harshly vocal about it and relentless in efforts, scrutinizing every thought, word, or deed. Those of us who are Christians have been comfortably silent resulting in our being victims of atheistic bullying.
Thanksgiving may have lost the race to more secular holidays but it lives large in my heart as a most important holiday, coming in slightly behind Easter and Christmas. I thank God I'm alive this year and am not shy about giving thanks and telling everyone I know about his goodness and mercy to all humankind.
I'm looking forward to next year's Thanksgiving celebration and I have a whole year to journal things for which I'm grateful. I will also be careful to stop along the way and say thanks to God and not save it all for that one day. I pray you will too.
by Rick King
Thanksgiving is approaching. I have always heard that we seem to celebrate this day for all that has been given to us. Rightfully so, as we are a very blessed country. We have many things to be thankful for. Yet, for some reason this thought hit me about thanksgiving that I had not considered before.
The word Thanksgiving has two words in it. It has the word "thanks" and the word "giving". We offer thanks for things given to us. Yet we maybe need to look at this a little closer. We need to give thanks for God giving us the ability and or the resources to give. If it were all about what we get it would be one-sided. The greatest joy is being able to give to others. Scripture even says that we are to:
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Because the Lord has given us the ability to give, it causes us to receive. We can be thankful then that God has allowed us to have things to give so that it comes back to us. I think our motive must be just to minister to the needs of others. Getting back for doing so is a result, not a motive. I think about the scripture that says:
2Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
God gives us seed to sow. He then multiplies our seed if we do sow into others. Some unfortunately eat their seed and never get God's blessing. Their seed is never multiplied back as they just use it on self. Those of you that have learned that Thanksgiving is all about giving gain a blessing from the Lord and have your seeds multiplied by God. For this, we all can be thankful this year that God so graciously gave to us seed to sow that He multiplies it back, as we are obedient.
So for this Thanksgiving I pray that you can be thankful for not only what has been given to you, but also that God has enabled you to give and be a blessing. Obedience to Him and His Word then brings a blessing back to you. Thank You Lord!
Happy Thanksgiving all!
Need to contact me or make a comment? Please direct all correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please note that there is an underscore ( _ ) between the r and the k in my email address). Thanks so much!
I am a 63 year old Born-Again spirit filled Christian, that has been saved for 30 years. Jesus found me when I was suicidal. I learned real quickly that I was powerless to be in control of my life, so I let Jesus take over. He has chosen me to be a warrior for Him. WE win, if we fight His way.