It seems unreal that Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday. As I was sitting here looking through different magazines to see if there was a recipe which caught my eye to post, each recipe I read found made me remembering different Thanksgivings along with the pictures in my mind which kept coming with each one.
On FaceBook, there is Throw Back Thursday where people will post a picture from their past that has special meaning. Next Thursday, I’m certain that there will be many pictures posted on FB that shows family and friends sitting around the table with all types of delectable dishes. Sometimes, these pictures make me sit back and think, “my table never looks as good as those I see posted” or “that family looks like they have no problems sitting there with everyone smiling and laughing” We begin to compare our lives with theirs, even though we know nothing except what we see in the pictures.
This week, we will be going to California to see friends and celebrate a dear friends 80th birthday. This precious lady and her husband invited Randy and I to their home, when they barely knew us, when we moved to California back in 2010. She didn’t want us spending Thanksgiving alone our first year there. The memories I have of being in their home conjure up thoughts of being made to feel like a part of their family, even when we just met some of them that day. We sat around the table and ate foods that were not our traditional Thanksgiving foods, but it was the best dinner because of their hospitality. They taught us to play Hand & Foot after dinner, which is still one of our favorite card games.
Looking back over my pictures on my phone the other day, I found a picture of our last Thanksgiving in Dallas when Randy’s mom and dad were still with us. Thinking back about that has made me more aware of trying to make every meal with friends or family special as we never know what is around the bend.
Years ago, memories of Thanksgivings when the kids sat at the “kid” table putting black olives on the end of each finger and sticking peas up their nose to see if they could “blow” them out brings so many smiles to my heart. The laughter that came from the kids,when together with their cousins, was now, thinking back, a true Hallmark memory. Isn’t it funny how, at the time, we are so concerned if the kids are behaving and not really enjoying the things that bring so much laughter in later years.
Some years seem to be more about the food. The years when like Randy says are great, “the kids are all married, everyone has jobs and nobody is in jail.” That is his description of when people ask about our family. He thinks he is so funny.
One year Randy and I were cleaning up the kitchen after everyone left. We had had a houses full that year and there were people eating in the living room and the dining room. After we finished cleaning up, Randy told me that he would go and begin to turn out the lights in the living room and turn off the fireplace. In seconds, he comes around the corner and says, “Eric forgot his brother, Craig is in the living room, sound asleep in the lazy boy”. We quickly called the kids to turn around and come get the “left over guest”. Eric had parked in back and left through the garage so had forgot that he had also brought his brother. I can handle only one loud snorer in the house at one time! Hope they remember that they have 3 kids now and don’t leave them anywhere!
Then there are the years when there is a new family member or a new baby. Those years seem to be the ones which stick out in our minds. There may be years which a pinkie ring ended up inside the turkey or I forgot to thaw out the Sister Schubert Rolls.
When we hear the word Thanksgiving, we automatically think of turkey, dressing, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.
This year, when we are gathered around the table I want to have different thoughts come to me. I hope that the words, grateful, blessed and contentment come to mind. Not just blessed to have family around us, but blessed to be a child of God. Blessed to have hope because of Jesus Christ who came to give us eternal life, if only we believe. Blessed to be a part of the family of God with friends who walk with us in this season of life. Blessed to have my own copy of a Bible, when so many in other parts of the world would give anything to have one. Blessed with joy and peace, because He gives a peace that the world cannot take away, no matter the circumstances going on all around us.
We are a blessed people and we owe God, the creator of all, to give Him our best and the first fruits of our lives. So in between telling the kids or grandkids to quit putting peas up their nose, or hurrying to take out the rolls from the oven before they burn, may we remember to turn our thoughts to the One who is the Giver of life and blessings.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.