I want you to think back to your greatest Thanksgiving meal ever. Can you remember the smell of turkey and dressing coming out of the kitchen? Can you see the pies and cookies waiting for you after the “big meal” was over?
Do you remember the folding chairs and crowded seats in the family dining room? Chances are, more than anything else, the thing that made this special event your greatest meal was the family and friends gathered together around the table.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of friends and family in the United States. If you don’t live in the US, maybe you’ve experienced a big family meal that will remind you of this special holiday. I want to take just a few moments to talk about the Thanksgiving gathering during the COVID pandemic.
Family and friends are the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, not the turkey and dressing. And COVID has made Thanksgiving a challenge this year.
‘To travel or not to travel?’ That is the question
You kind of need food in order to have a big family meal together! COVID and the social distancing restrictions have made this Thanksgiving family celebration different from any I’ve ever lived through.
Today, people are wrestling with the decision of traveling to be with friends and family and potentially risking getting or spreading the virus, versus staying at home and spending this special holiday alone. What a terrible choice to have to make!
I don’t know what your family traditions are at Thanksgiving, but I’ll guess that gathering people together is a central part of your Thanksgiving festivities. Having the Thanksgiving celebration without family and friends gathered together feels like a Thanksgiving meal without the food.
If you’re struggling with spreading the virus by traveling versus remaining separated in order to keep this virus from spreading, I want to offer you a suggestion.
Pass the love (and the pecan pie) this Thanksgiving
I am not a medical doctor. Therefore, I wouldn’t dare give medical advice about whether or not you should travel to see friends and family during this holiday season. If you believe your health is at risk by traveling…stay home. If you believe that by traveling you may put family or friends at risk from contracting the COVID virus…stay home!
Don’t let the news pressure you into staying home or advertisers pressure you into traveling this holiday season. There is a much more important voice that should influence your decision about travel this week, and I believe Jesus gives a biblical principle to help you answer this question.
When asked a trick question about the Commandments in Luke 10:25-27, without hesitation Jesus answered that loving God is the #1 commandment. However, he also added a second commandment to it. Number 2 on the list is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Basically, he tied the second commandment to the first in importance. Here’s a recent article that I wrote to give you more information about these two commandments.
I want to challenge you to keep the # 2 commandment in mind during the holiday season. If loving your family and friends means staying at home so that the virus doesn’t spread… then love them well by staying at home.
Maybe this year you spend Thanksgiving online in a virtual meeting rather than in the same dining room together. I realize that it’s not the same thing as being there, but it is your opportunity to pass the love during this special holiday.
On the other hand, if you are miserable this holiday season or have loved ones who are isolated and emotionally struggling because of the COVID pandemic, then perhaps you should get together in person this Thanksgiving.
Because our mental health is just as important as physical health, maybe you should travel to a loved one who is alone and isolated this week. Whether you gather together in person this week or online, don’t forget to pass the love (and the pecan pie)! No matter which option you choose, I hope you have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!