All five of us are sitting here in the family room in front of a football game on TV--Texas vs.Texas A&M. I got up early this morning to start the cooking, and believe me, it's a labor...of love, yes, but also simply labor. I'm not an enthusiastic cook, not by a long shot. But I can roast a passable turkey (the trick is the 48 hours in a brine, which makes it incredibly moist!), a stuffing we all love (well, not J, but he's our finicky eater!), and a family favorite, Raspberry Pretzel salad. And we manage to eat ourselves silly. SK had a game plan in order to eat lots--she purposely didn't drink water all afternoon. At the end of one helping, however, she realized she'd eaten too quickly, and was stuffed. "A rookie mistake," she lamented. The rest of us weren't in much better shape. Beve decided to hold off on the Raspberry salad until later, but immediately finished most of mine for me. But honestly, none of us can eat with Beve on our best days. And trust me, when we were first married, I tried. The result was that I gained a lot of weight that I've spent the rest of my life bemoaning!
Football and eating, that's what this day amounts to. Right? I sometimes wonder what it really has to do with the feast the pilgrims fixed after their first year of survival on this continent. We haven't known the cost of such a day. We haven't survived the cruelties of an ocean voyage in a wooden ship, nor the unexpectedly terrible winter. We haven't lost a great portion of our company to death. We don't usually have to rely on the indiginous people to keep us alive. In fact, by the time we became a nation, we'd shuffled them off to the corners of this land. Sure the pilgrims thanked God, but they also thanked their neighbors. Wished those neighbors well.
However, I do know that this is the day of the year we set aside to stuff ourselves. Hopefully, we do it cognizant of what it means, cognizant of how we have been blessed not only by God, but by those who populate our lives. As believers, we're told repeatedly in scripture to 'be thankful.' Not just today, but constantly. Thankfulness is the foundation of prayer; the genesis of it. Whatever we ask, we ask based on the amazing truth of what we've already been given, what God did, does and will do for us. Being thankful for Life itself, for the astonishing smorgasbord that is Creation, and the unfathomable gift that is our Salvation.
Whatever good you have--health, family, a job (especially in this economic climate), a place to sleep at night, and food in your cupboard--comes from the outstretched hand of God.
So today, I wish you thankful hearts, lives that are lived as a sacrifice of thankfulness and praise, that you are as replete with what God has given you as you are from the food you ate. I wish for such a thankful heart--for all of us--that we are as thankful for the storms as we are for the sun, that we 'don't waste our sorrows' (the title of a book I read in college) by also becoming resentful and angry, but recognize the hand of God is also outstretched in difficulties. Maybe that hand, that amazing hand of God in our lives, is covered with tears as He wipes them from our eyes, and His own as our Father cries for our pain.
There's a song I learned about 37 years ago that fits these hopes for all of you who read this blog (and you are part of what I'm thankful for today!):
"I could wish you joy and peace
To last your whole life long.
I could wish you sunshine
Or a cheerful little song.
Wish you all the happiness
That this life can bring.
But I wish you Jesus
But I wish you Jesus,
'Cuz when I wish you Jesus,
I've wished you everything!"