play thank you games

Don’t you love a holiday table set with food the size of a soccer field? You’ll juggle several buttered buns and a plate full of tasty side dishes while trying to snag a big turkey. It’s a big play. You’ll have to make an effort to hit the turkey before all those starving relatives leave you with nothing but dark meat. First down and gravy to go.

It’s especially great to have lots of relatives at a holiday dinner (aside from who-gets-the-drum issues) because they bring a virtually unimpeachable excuse to eat in the family room. Away in the kitchen? No-sir-ee. we go long With some fancy footwork, you can crack open two slices of pumpkin pie as you make your way towards the goal: the Lazy Boy. Landing!

It’s good to have a goal.

It’s good to have goals, how we treat each other on vacation. Grace is like our end zone. The goal. Paul reminded us in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer everyone” (CSB).

At this time of year, we all know how important good seasoning is. We need to be even more careful about the words we use and how we flavor each conversation. Our goal should be that every holiday conversation be filled with the wonderful taste of grace.

I love the way The Message puts Colossians 4:6. “Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not ignore them.”

It can become all too easy to bring out the worst in others, to put them down with unkind talk—especially when they’re eating the last leg you’re sure was rightfully yours. Instead of lovingly inviting others into merciful dialogue, it’s easy to let them get on our nerves, shut them out, cut them out. It doesn’t exactly inspire a mood of gratitude everywhere, does it? I don’t want to play those holiday games. It is my goal to consistently offer Jesus-inspired grace in everything I do and in every word I say.

1 Peter 3:8-11 gives us another morsel to chew. “Finally you are all like-minded [united in spirit]sympathetic, fraternal, kind-hearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil, or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse]but on the contrary give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for to this you are called, that you may inherit blessings [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection]. Because ‘the one who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good – whether apparent or not], ‘must keep his tongue free from evil, and his lips from speaking falsehood (treason, deceit). He must turn from wickedness and do what is right. He must seek peace [with God, with self, with others] and follow it eagerly [actively – not merely desiring it]“ (AMP).

Loving with a tender heart and a humble spirit, showing blessings to others. This guarantees a happy, peaceful, perfectly seasoned holiday – even if Uncle Mort gets the last club. And even if someone hits you on the deck chair.


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