In our house, we like to joke that Thanksgiving is about “family, food, and football.” Although when I think about it, maybe we aren’t really joking! Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time when we ought to reflect on all the things for which we are thankful. I truly do have so much for which to give thanks; God has blessed me far more than I deserve.
As I look at this Norman Rockwell painting, I wonder how many of our Thanksgiving celebrations even resemble this picture any longer. Do multiple generations of the same family dress up and gather around our table to enjoy a scrumptious feast? Last Saturday, I gathered with multiple generations for a pre-Thanksgiving feast, but it was served on paper plates rather than china. And we were gathered in my grandmother’s assisted living facility, not her house. Did that make it any less a time for giving thanks? Absolutely not. It was a delight to see my children enjoying time with their great-grandmother, and to see her face brighten just to be at the same table with us.
Last week, we gathered with three other families from our church small group and enjoyed another pre-Thanksgiving feast. While none of us are related biologically, we all share an even deeper family connection through our faith in Christ. Our family in Christ may not look like a Norman Rockwell painting, but we shared a time of giving thanks nonetheless.
We will gather tomorrow for our “official” family Thanksgiving. The china will be out, the turkey will be scrumptious. But the faces will be varied – maybe just the four of us in my immediate family, perhaps some far-from-home college students, perhaps a few of our neighbors who decided not to be alone for the holiday. Again, not Rockwellian, but worthy of thanks still.
I don’t know what your Thanksgiving feast will look like. If your table is full, rejoice. If it is not, find others who may also be lonely and share your thanks (and your food) together. What is it that fills your heart with thankfulness this year? Share that with those gathered round you. Make memories; be thankful.
If this year should find a once-filled chair now empty, don’t hide from the sadness. Remember the times that you shared and find joy in the memories. I pray you may find comfort in the God of all comfort.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1)