Doing Small Things with Great Love
Over the years I have learned the truth of Mother Theresa’s quote:
“We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
If we keep this in mind during our holiday preparations, we will have less stress and more joy.
Thanksgiving at our house is a day of gratitude and a day of feasting. When Steve and I married, we incorporated some of his family favorites and some of my family favorites and through the years we have changed, added, and altered the traditional dinner.
I had no idea that I was starting a special tradition with the making of the rolls at Thanksgiving. Everyone in the family assists in the preparation of the meal, but the making of the rolls is prioritized for the youngest ones in the crew. Older kids help make the dough, but when it comes to rolling the dough into balls, dipping them in butter and placing three rolls in each part of the cupcake pan…the little ones take center stage. It has become a favorite family tradition. The delight in the eyes of our grandchildren as they wait for the rolls to cook is a joy. Nothing, however, compares to the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from hearing a granddaughter tell her younger sisters, “Remember to put the love in! Mimi says it’s the love that makes them taste so yummy.” Now these girls want to make rolls every time they visit…and yes, I am glad to honor that request.
It is a small thing done with great love. This is what makes holidays so special. Especially in times when there is great change going on around children, whether in the world in general or within their immediate family, these small traditions give them a sense of security and wellbeing.
Many families take a time before the Thanksgiving Feast for each person to speak of what they are grateful for. Sometimes with younger children it is nice to start that process early. Ask them often, starting now. ”What was good about your day? What are you grateful for?” Write their responses down and then closer to Thanksgiving let the children help you paste them on poster board as a reminder of God’s goodness. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you choose. A drawing of a tree with gratitude notes on cut-out leaves or anything your imagination comes up with.
You can turn an inexpensive tablecloth into a family heirloom by either having every guest sign it or by writing gratitude notes on it. Again, it can be as simple or as elaborate as you have time for… Just don’t forget to put the love in it!
A holiday grocery shopping tip: if your grocery budget is tight (and with the price of groceries…whew! Isn’t that all of us?). Make a list of the holiday meal ingredients and purchase a few of the non-perishable items each trip to the store. Then it won’t be such an overwhelming shock when they ring up the total when you do your final shopping before the holiday. If we are able, it is also a good time to add a few extra items to the grocery cart for assisting with church or community food baskets for needy families.
The holidays are a wonderful time to teach children about the kindness and compassion Jesus wants us to show others. Hebrews 13:16 – “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.”
Colossians 3:12 – Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, gentleness and patience.
Pray together as a family about the acts of kindness to add to your holiday plans.
Simplify. Don’t miss the true joys of the season in a pursuit of perfection. (As a recovering perfectionist, I can say this with a sheepish smile.)
Long after the feast, let the memories be ones of love and gratitude. Do the small things with great love.
Let’s Talk About It:
- Have you simplified your holiday preparations? If so, what changes have you made?
- How do you teach your children about kindness and compassion for others?