Last week, we spent all week preparing our house for Thanksgiving. Including a fresh coat of paint and a bit of remodeling. We checked our cupboards as we double-checked our grocery list. Prep. Prep. Prep. But, it wasn’t about the food.

Recently, my wife and I gathered with friends for a “friendsgiving” celebration. 12 of my close “run group” friends, who have become a “run family.”

For 4 hours, we ate a light meal and shared stories. We laughed. We talked. We encouraged one another. We all have different backgrounds, and we all care for each other deeply.

The night wasn’t about the food. (Although it was delicious) The night was about getting together and celebrating what matters most: each other.

It was a simple reminder to not lose the importance of what Thanksgiving, and any holiday, really is. It is a time to reflect and be grateful. Grateful for health. Grateful for family and friends. Grateful for a job. Grateful for faith in Jesus.

Over the years, we have had many wonderful Thanksgiving dinners with friends and family. Some to our house for the very first time. And you know what? It was wonderful because it wasn’t about the food. It was about building one another up. Sharing stories. Sharing emotion. Sharing time.

May I also encourage you to keep your eyes open for anyone in your “friend group” who would welcome an invitation to your table. Perhaps this will be a difficult Christmas and would love to have some company.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:11