Thanksgiving looked much different this year than anticipated.
Plans for a day full of time with family were quickly halted. I woke up at 1 in the morning Thanksgiving day to my son getting sick and, by 2, it was apparent we were in the throws of my son having his first stomach bug.
The day ended up being spent cuddling my sick kiddo, doing several clean-ups and my husband bringing food from our family gatherings to eat together as our small family of three.
I don’t know about you, but during the holiday season, I can get caught up in counting down for the big days, the celebration days. I had spent much of the week leading up to Thanksgiving looking forward to spending time with family. In fact, in numerous areas of my life, I can get caught up waiting for a culminating “big thing.”
But, have you ever experienced reaching the “big thing” and, while it often is good, it may not reach the expectations that your anticipation set? Or, like happened with my son, something comes up and totally throws off your “big thing?”
I’m not saying you should avoid getting excited about things. I’m saying that, perhaps, while having joy and excitement for a future event, we can also create space to have joy and excitement in the present moment.
The journey can have equally captivating awe and beauty as the final destination. But we miss out on that awe and beauty if we don’t take time to look around and instead have tunnel vision on the final destination.
I think that Jesus gives us an honorable example to strive for in this. Throughout scripture, Jesus references the end for Him, His death and resurrection. It’s on His mind. But, while He had it on His mind, it doesn’t cause Him to lose sight of the beauty and opportunity in the present moment.
Had Jesus been living with tunnel vision for the end, He likely wouldn’t have interacted with the woman at the well in John 4. He would have continued to sit there and wait for her to draw her water and leave. Instead, He crossed cultural barriers and had a conversation with her, and many Samaritans come to believe as an effect of this conversation.
Jesus also likely wouldn’t have healed the woman who touched the edge of his cloak in Luke 8. Amidst a tightly packed crowd, He easily could have ignored the woman’s touch or not even felt it at all. Instead, He was present, He did feel her touch and He healed a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years.
So, as we journey to numerous more holidays this next month, don’t minimize joy and excitement for what those days will bring. But, also stop along the way, slow down, look around and experience the joy and opportunity of now.
Kylie Larson, MA, LPC