This is a special day in the United States. It is a day set apart for Thanksgiving. Our personal thanksgiving celebrations have changed over the years. Our first Thanksgiving we shared with my mother. She was so happy to have us join her–getting to know her new son in law. My mom was a “southern” cook, who like me at my age, did not cook as much as when she had a family. So the food was a bit less than stellar. I know Darryl ate the meal with a grateful heart, but it definitely was not what he was used to! The cornbread dressing had so much sage it was actually green! I was expecting our first child and was grateful to have a bit of “normal” thanksgiving food. Darryl missed his family traditions. As pioneering pastors, we were grateful that someone else purchased the food! It was a ” good different” for me, because I had a new husband to share it with.
As the years progressed our family changed. We added our children. Sometimes we were with our extended family, sometimes we extended invitations to our church family. But changes took place. We began to add our children’s spouses which meant we shared them with their in-laws at times. Then grandchildren were added. Our table extended. It was good. They brought different traditions from their home into our family and it was different, but still good.
I am thankful our family is growing to 10 grandchildren! I am grateful to the parents of our current nine that they are willing to travel, cook, host and facilitate this year’s celebration. I am grateful and thankful that they love each other, in spite of their quirks and are willing to spend time together. Only a mom knows how it feels to have all their chicks together at one time!We will be at my son’s home. I am grateful they are doing the organizing and the planning–and most of the work. It is my prayer that memories will be made that will last a life time. It is my prayer that our family tribe will grow stronger and stronger to help weather unforeseen storms. I am so thankful for each of my family members and what they contribute to our family.
But then our table shrunk. Our fearless head went home to be with Jesus. It was a very different Thanksgiving that first year. We still had much to be thankful for–including my new daughter-in-law’s family (mom, dad, aunt and three siblings) who joined us that first year. We needed to extend our family table to help us accept the one missing. It helped us accept our new “different”. I was/am so grateful for the Bunica family. I pray His grace and mercy to those of you whose table has shrunk. Be grateful for the memories and hold tight to those who remain.
Father, I ask you blessing on those of us who are celebrating Thanksgiving today. I ask that you help us learn to cultivate both gratitude (outward appreciation for the actions of others) and a thankful heart (inward awareness of God’s love, care and the blessings of life). Teach us to grow in our ability to appreciate You, others and our blessings every day, not just on holidays! In Jesus Name, Amen