Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving, Of Course!

Thanksgiving is upon us..
As I wrote those words the thought came to me that thanksgiving should be a way of life.  There is so much to be thankful for every day.
Yet, holidays are special..

I love the gathering of family.  Today I read an article in our local newspaper by Mitch Albion on the subject of Thanksgiving the holiday.  He loves this particular holiday because, more than any other, it is simply about families and close friends gathering together.  It is time for the extended visit, the long hug; a time when all the pressures of life take a break.  There is no concern over whether we have found the perfect gift or if we have overlooked anyone.  The day is a day to enjoy relationships with gratitude.

We will have twenty-two people gathered around our table tomorrow.  There should have been more.  Our oldest and his family will not be in attendance.  We haven't shared a Thanksgiving together in over ten years.  This year was suppose to be different.  Unfortunately, life happens and changes our plans.
Our son called me this morning to let me know that they would not be making the trip from West Virginia after all.  As we ended our conversation I felt sadness filling my heart and tears filled my eyes.
I started to feel grumpy and decided to indulge the feeling for a while. 
Papa doesn't let me get too far with those kind of choices!  With one gentle, yet convicting, thought everything was put into perspective.  There is too much to be thankful for to be grouchy.

I am thankful...
that I am His and He is mine
that I have a loving and large family
                                  and we enjoy each other (!)
that Ray and I have each other
                                  and he is recovering (!)
that we are all healthy
that my God gladly allows me to be me
that He expresses Himself through me in a way that is unique to who I am
that everything that comes into my life (good and bad) are an opportunity to know Papa better
that I do not have to rely upon following a list of rules to be able to be called a Christian
that we have a home in which we can welcome others

Last year on the day before Thanksgiving Ray spotted a local man walking down the street.  He doesn't drive and walks to town every day.  (I have passed him with his thumb out many a time.)
Well, Ray got into his truck and gave him a ride to town.  During the drive Ray discovered that he had no where to go for Thanksgiving. 
The man is a bit excentric.  He lives in a house that is more a shack than anything and doesn't take very good care of himself.
That day he got an invite to our house and the following day, after being picked up by my honey, he joined us in celebrating Thanksgiving at our table.

Two days ago our son, Tim, gave this man a ride and again he received an invitation to join us.  Tim will be picking him up tomorrow so he can, once again, join us in our Thanksgving meal.
When Tim had learned who was joining us last year, he actually announced in on Facebook.  He couldn't believe it!  You see, most everyone in our town knows of this man.
So sad that it took us so many years to think to reach out to him!
The man was comfortable conversing with Ray and we were impressed by how eloquent he was.  What is that saying?  "Don't judge a book by its cover?"

Yes, there is so much to be thankful for and such an amazing God to thank.  As my family gathers tomorrow many emotions will be present.  This is our first holiday without Sara.  It will be bittersweet, but may the sweet win out.  I am certain that would be her wish.  She was always concerned for others.
Even more importantly, Papa would have us lift out eyes and hearts to Him and express thanksgiving for all He is and does. 
If our eyes and hearts are fixed on Him thanksgiving will be the mark of the day and our lives.

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