by Christina Rose
It’s much better to live simply, surrounded in holy awe and worship of God, than to have great wealth with a home full of trouble. It’s much better to have a meal of vegetables surrounded with love and grace than a steak where there is hate. Proverbs 15:16-17 TPT
As the holidays drew near, Dad paced nervously, puffing on his pipe and jiggling the coins in his pocket. He was a quiet and pensive man, yet I noticed his feeling pressured as he stared out the window. Autumn leaves swirled in the wind as dark clouds filled the sky—setting the perfect stage for the storm that was about to hit with Oma’s arrival.
Mom’s mother was coming to help with the holiday meal. Oma was a tall, commanding captain of the nurses at Walter Reed military hospital, and she had a critical nature. She came from a frugal family of German immigrants who settled near the Amish in rural Pennsylvania. They worked the fields, raised livestock and saved every penny. Their diet of sauerkraut, pickled pigs’ feet, pickled beets and eggs (and all things pickled) didn’t help to sweeten their serious, hardworking demeanors.
Since Dad came from a family that loved to laugh and didn’t take things too seriously, Oma had a hard time understanding Mom’s choice of Dad for her husband. And Oma aired that opinion far too frequently.
After Oma arrived, the kitchen was on lockdown for several days while she and Mom created the perfect holiday meal. Dad took us hiking and we tossed the football around, then we enjoyed pizza and ice cream with a movie in the den. All of this was much more fun than being scolded for wandering into the kitchen and disrupting the cooks. “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife” (Proverbs 17:12 NIV).
Dad grew up on the beautiful coast of New England, and whenever we visited his childhood home, Grammie Dot greeted us with warmth and hugs. We gathered in the front room where aunts, uncles and cousins would laugh and jest for hours. When everyone got hungry, we ordered lobster rolls, fried clams, shrimp and French fries; then we tossed the paper plates in the trash so that no one was stuck in the kitchen washing dishes. These memories are full of joy.
The contrast of those memories reminds me of something I learned after my car broke down recently. I felt overwhelmed by car replacement choices and prayed to God for the right one. When a little white Ford Focus landed in my driveway, I realized it was more than a car; it was a word from God. Each day, when I see “FOCUS” on the back of my car, it’s a reminder to focus on what matters most.
While Oma focused on creating the perfect holiday meal, Grammie Dot focused on enjoying her family. Prioritizing God’s plan for us gives us the peace, knowing He directs our steps, meets our needs with abundance, and holds our future safely in His hands. When we learn to live this way, we can relax and enjoy our lives instead of worrying about details that rob us of the joy that comes from loving God and one another.
Jesus imparted that wisdom to Martha when her sister chose to sit at his feet to listen and learn, deeming it more important than helping prepare the holiday feast. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her”(Luke 10:41-42 NKJV).
While I know that both my grandmothers wanted to create special memories, the focus on family over the feast was far more enjoyable. A holiday masterpiece feast is a treasured gift, but the love, laughter and joy we share with one another is paramount to celebrating the life that Christ died to give us.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership. She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.
Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who need hope and freedom.
Join the conversation: What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?