Thanksgiving continues to be my favorite holiday. It is one of the few institutions left to us that hasn’t been hijacked by wacky groups who seem to be against most everything Americans have held dear for the past 300 years.
No glitz. No hype. No mad dashes to the Walmart and annoying traffic lines that move at a snail’s pace through city thoroughfares. Neither does the UPS truck beat a path to my door for days before, piling up box on top of box, all requiring yards and yards of wrapping paper, tape, and a huge chunk of time.
Despite the food, the family conversation, and the abundance of football, Thanksgiving just “feels” quiet. It does not feel frantic. And that may be my favorite part.
It was 1974 when I realized Thanksgiving was far and away my favorite. I was 23 years old, expecting my first child, and lingering over the vestiges of a Thanksgiving feast at my mother’s dining room table with the rest of the family.
What is it about the sights and smells of a particular occasion that sear themselves in your mind in such a way that every detail remains sharp and real and very much with you despite the passage of time?
It was just that way - a moment of clarity in that very ordinary moment. I had enjoyed every Thanksgiving of my life in that same spot with these same people, eating from Mama’s Haviland wedding china, drinking from the thin etched Rosepoint goblets reserved for such occasions.
But that particular day I realized such times were not going to go on in the same way forever, that one day there would be empty chairs, absent loved ones, but there would be new faces, too.
It was as though the Holy Spirit nudged me gently and said, “Pay attention. You are going to cherish this day.” And I did and I have all these decades later.
In the middle of giving thanks for my life at this season, when I thank Him for Charles, my children, “bonus” children, and a host of 13 of “his,” “mine” and “ours” grandchildren, I still thank God for that particular Thanksgiving day in 1974 and for being made aware as I never had been before how fragile and fleeting and precious this earthly life is. Blessed. That’s the only word for it. Despite the disappointments and unfulfilled dreams that are just part of life on planet earth, I have been oh so blessed in my journey. And I am just supposing, that when you stop and remember, you probably feel the very same way about your personal journey.
There is a bit of soul restoration that occurs when we pause to count our blessings and to focus on the abundance of what is right and good in the world around us rather than what is not. Most of what is not involve things we cannot control anyway! The truth of the matter is this: God, our Father, is always faithful to meet us where we are and to either completely re order our circumstances or to supply His strength, His comfort, and His wisdom to walk the path with us.
Thanksgiving is a time of quiet reflection upon the past and an annual reminder that God has, again, been ever so faithful. The solid and simple things of life are brought into clear focus, so much so that everything else fades into insignificance. Charles Swindoll
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so Psalm 107: 1,2.