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Thanksgiving and Soap Operas


Did any of you  grow up watching day time soaps like me? There was just one as far as I was concerned.

Here’s your hint:
There was an hour glass with sand flowing slowly from top to bottom.
Did you guess Days of our Lives?
I watched that show every day for too long. I think I literally didn’t stop watching it until some time near the end of college, and I had watched it since I was, lets just say, way too young.

This may sound crazy, but one of the things I loved about the show was the way they did holidays.

At Christmas, the whole Horton family, which made up almost the entire show, would gather around the tree at Grandma Horton’s house to hang the personalized ornaments on her tree.  Everyone had their own special ornament with their name  perfectly inscribed.  As the ornaments were each being hung, there was usually soft Christmas music in the background, and interestingly enough, I even remember several years when someone, usually Grandma Horton, would read the Christmas story from the bible.

Thanksgiving with the Horton family was much the same.  They would gather around the enormously long table together, hold hands, and each give thanks for all their many blessings.

As much as I loved the way they did holidays, it all totally messed with my mind because there was almost always turmoil in the family…some scandal or betrayal or worse…a murder in Salem. But those Hortons came together to celebrate, as if they weren’t in the middle of totally ridiculous amounts of chaos.

It didn’t matter what had gone on the other 364 days of that year, and you can bet that it was always something horrible, the Horton family came together at Thanksgiving and Christmas, put all their broken hearts and damaged relationships aside, held hands, and gave thanks or hung personalized ornaments together while singing a Christmas carol.

It was magical, better than a lifetime movie, and honestly, it always wrecked me a little in my heart.
I wanted what the Horton’s had, even though what they had wasn’t a bit real.

We all get pictures in our minds of what we want our holidays to look like. Hopefully, unlike me, you didn’t get some of your pictures from the likes of shows like  Days of Our Lives.  

These pictures that we carry around put an enormous pressure on each of our families because we’re expecting them to live up to an expectation that we’ve drawn and colored and sometimes framed in our minds of what family is supposed to be.  These made for television pictures in our heads keep us from really, truly loving the people that God gave us to call family.  We can’t love who they really are because we’re too busy resenting who they aren’t.

Neither side of our family looks anything like the Hortons.  We don’t have scandal or betrayal between us, but we each come to the table with our own set of hurts and disappointments…our own stories laced with beauty and brokenness.  There won’t be a picture perfect prayer prayed at the Thanksgiving table this year, and trust me when I say there are no perfectly personalized ornaments to be hung at Christmas.  {Although, I did try that one year back in the middle  90’s.  No one went for it.}

I want to really love these people that God gave me.  I want to see past some of the things in their personalities that drive me bonkers, and I’m sure hoping they’ll do the same for me.

I want to be so caught up in the things I’m thankful for that I forget about being ungrateful for what isn’t or might not ever be.

I don’t want to just do the meal part of Thanksgiving because that part’s easy.  I want to dig deep and really, truly, whole-heartedly do the thanks part, too.

{thankful for}

821. family.
822. friends who feel like family.
823. extra time with my kids this week.
824. time with marybeth and her girls yesterday.
825. brand new babies being born into two special families from our small group.
826. the most amazing prayer time last week with cindy and an amazing counseling session with phyllis.
827. God’s healing work in my heart and the renewing of my mind.
828. a husband who works so hard and loves so well.
829. head rubs from andy that help turn my head off and put me into a restful sleep.
830. good books.
831. what I’m learning about my theology of suffering from watching Jackie’s life.
832. hot coffee.
833. God’s unfailing love and unending mercy.
834. Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
835. warm fires.
836. lamp light in the early morning.
837. thanksgiving.

Jackie - Love your words here. Hope your Thanksgiving was full of joy and memorymaking! xoxo

Megan - I wanted to be in the Walton family when I was a kid. It is strange how that imaginary world from childhood can still creep into our expectations. I always love reading your reflections and can always relate to your words!

Christy - Days of Our Lives and Young and the Restless, baby! Every day in high school our girls show choir would watch them during lunch. Funny thing is, I haven’t seen them in YEARS, but every time I see the headlines in the grocery store, nothing has changed! ;) I totally get what you’re saying about envying their holidays. I always seem to fantasize what I think the holiday, or anything for that matter, should be like, and then I’m sorely disappointed when things don’t turn out the way they did in my head. I am learning. Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving.

anne marie - no….I didn’t however……….my Grandma watched “her story” every day….too hilarious (she still does even though ‘they need to put some clothes on’ she says)

tiffini - ok…i have been meaning to email you back on your email..that hasn’t happened. i gotta tell you before i foreget that grace is just like you! i am kinda sorta getting it. from the post on redoing that sweet girls room. your words describing yourself helped me to see grace in a new way…she is so not like me in so many i gotta pick your brain after the holidays. this post echoes my heart and so many others i believe. with so much of our lives in social media now it can wreck havoc if we aren’t careful.
i am so grateful to have friends like you that remind me of what truly matters. it helps keep me on track. know i know how hard you work…i love what you are doing in your home. can’t wait to see your holiday home…and NO that is not why i love you. i would love you if you lived in a van down by the river. just sayin:) ok…off to have another cup of coffee….xo

Donna - I know that I’m older than you but I used to watch Days of our Lives too. Loved Hope and Bo. Yes, and the Hortons .They were such a close knit family and they did the hiolidays so well. They were always so sentimental. I think holidays should always be like that and families should have traditions to carry on.

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