This is my Thanksgiving this year: Thanksgiving with no Thanksgiving dinner. I think it’s a first for me.

No turkey to carve. No gravy to soak it in.

No stuffing to hoard. No cranberry sauce to avoid.

No rolls to butter. No veggies to scoop.

No food to pile on. No plate to make a mountain.

No grape juice to chug. No wine to sip. (Okay, maybe a little.)

No pie to devour. No coffee to enjoy. (Well let’s be honest . . . I’m definitely still drinking coffee.)

Sometimes, when you are a mama, you have to stay home with your sick baby. Even on Thanksgiving. Sometimes you have to spend Thanksgiving at the doctor’s office, and then the pharmacy, and then in bed. Sometimes you have to spend Thanksgiving away from beloved family. Sometimes you have to spend Thanksgiving binge watching Netflix and eating whatever is in the fridge.

Sometimes, when you are a mama, it’s just you and your baby. Another day, another sacrifice you make for your child again.

Thanksgiving with no Thanksgiving dinner.

But the thankful part? The whole point of all of this? The whole point of one of the biggest holidays of the year? It’s still here. Even in my living room, while I watch Netflix and eat a frozen pizza, with my baby sleeping on my chest.

How can it not be?

I have this truly precious baby to cuddle.
I have medicine to help her.
I have family and friends checking in.
I have quiet time to read and write and just be.

That’s just today.

I also have freedom in this beautiful country.
I also have a roof over my head and food in my belly.
I also have the most loving people in my life.
I also have a God who is sovereign and who loves me.
I also have freedom and salvation from a perfect Messiah.
I also have a Jesus who is always with me.

That’s every day.

So very much to be thankful for. Even without the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations.

Whether you are enjoying a turkey feast or ordering take out on your living room couch, be thankful.

Whether you are surrounded by loved ones or it’s just you in the quiet, be thankful.

Whether you are driving from place to place or have no where to go, be thankful.

Whether you are dealing with fussy and tired kids or having real adult conversation, be thankful.

Be thankful because there is always a reason to be thankful. No matter where you are, no matter what the circumstance. You too can be thankful. For today and for every day.

Becuase that is what this holiday is all about. That is what we are being reminded of. Not the food, not the decorations, not the turkey. We are being reminded of the reasons we always have to be thankful. All year long.

Thanksigving with no thanksgiving dinner. Be thankful.

Originally published on A Beautiful Alarm 

Esther Vandersluis

Esther is a Canadian writing from Hamilton, Ontario, living in a sea of pink as a girl mom to three. Find her on Facebook ( where you will find writing for stay-at-home moms, moms with littles, sleep-deprived moms, moms feeding babies, and babies with failure to thrive, all under the umbrella of faith in Jesus Christ.