How to have Happy Thanksgiving with family members who didn’t vote like you

As we all know, Thanksgiving is a time for turkey, football and family get-togethers. So in order to truly have a “Happy” Thanksgiving those three things must be enjoyable.

Assuming the you are not my brother, it’s tough to ruin a turkey (I will spare you the long details, just take this advice: Do not use licorice in the turkey stuffing).  As for the football, well the Lions are playing and while they may technically be in first place the Lions are still the Lions.  To be happy with the outcome of a Lions’ football game, it’s best to enjoy the atmosphere, the crowd, the athletic achievement of the players and not get too wrapped up in the score.  Finally, to have a “Happy” Thanksgiving, your family gathering will need to be pleasant too.  That might be tricky in this season of a nation divided.  So here are my “Saving-the-Family –from-a-Fight-Before-it-Starts tips” and how to have Happy Thanksgiving with family members who voted opposite of you.

During the gathering, it would be best to avoid the following:

1)  No matter how you voted, don’t use the words “Clinton” or “Trump.”   This may be a difficult challenge if part of your Thanksgiving tradition involves playing card games like euchre or Rook where someone calls “trump.”  Instead of trump, I suggest calling it “The swooped haired special card grouping.”  My sister lives in Clinton Township (by Detroit), there are a few residents of her municipality that haven’t mentioned their city’s name since Monica Lewinski was a hot topic. My sister is not hosting the Thanksgiving gathering this year, so even my GPS will not be saying “Clinton” township.

2)  Don’t loudly announce: “I’m building a wall around this turkey no one gets a slice without the proper papers!” 

 3)  Don’t ask: “Can I use your computer, Aunt Suzie, my personal email server is causing me troubles?”

 4)  If you don’t like either team playing football (It’s the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings in the first game), please don’t start cheering for the New England Patriots.  No matter how loud you cheer for a third party, that team will not win.

And 5) Most importantly, Pray!   The Apostle Paul was not thinking about our divided nation and how we might make our Thanksgiving gatherings “Happy” when he wrote to Timothy, but his words apply to us this year.  He wrote:  First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. (1 Timothy 2:1 CEV).   

Imagine if we did that for our relatives that voted opposite of us.  If we prayed for everyone and asked God to help and bless them all.  Imagine how our attitudes might change if we thought of ways we are thankful even for the most cantankerous relative. Paul used a lot of inclusive language in that one verse: (“everyone,” “them all,” and “each of them”).  He didn’t leave anybody out.  There are no exceptions.  So let’s pray for everyone who will be at our Thanksgiving Table—Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.

If we follow Paul’s advice to pray for everyone, I believe we will have a Happy Thanksgiving—even if the turkey is overcooked and the Lions lose.


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