I awoke this morning to a chilly reading on the thermometer and a light dusting of snow on the ground and housetops. With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I decided today would be a perfect day to make my dressing. The house is redolent with the aromas of freshly baked cornbread, along with celery and onions sautéing in a bath of melted butter. Short of a turkey roasting in the oven, I can’t think any smell more evocative of Thanksgiving. Even though it is a gray day outside, the lights from the Christmas tree create a festive atmosphere indoors. The sounds of glorious Christmas music fill the air while the dishwasher is hums along as it gives my holiday glassware a good cleansing, necessary after a year in my Great Aunt Fannie Belle’s china cabinet. This is my happy place and my heart is overflowing with gratitude.
We will have 18-ish at our table this year. It’s a moving target, but there will be plenty of food for anyone who shows up at the last minute. We are grateful for everyone who can make it, and will miss those who cannot. With grown children and mostly-grown grands, we have a lot of moving parts now. I try to stay flexible, thankful that I can host this holiday and mindful of my days getting shorter. Next year is not guaranteed. I can remember my grandmother saying the same thing at holidays in the passed. I dismissed it as something an old woman says, but mostly because I just could not fathom a holiday without her. Oh how I wish she could be with us this year.
As I think back over the year, we have many reasons to be thankful on this day of thanks. Has it been all lollipops and roses? Absolutely not! But Jesus has walked with us every day. There have been days of laughter and fun, but also days of tears and grief. We have had days that surprised us with joy and days that kicked us in the gut. Days of celebrations and days of terrifying uncertainty. There were nights that robbed us of sleep as we gave way to fear. And there were days that left us scratching our heads in dismay. Although we don’t enjoy the bad days, they make the good days all the more sweet. And there were more good days than bad!
If I try to list all my blessings I will certainly miss some, but here is a start. I am grateful for an enduring marriage and my husband Jerry who survived a near-fatal illness a few years ago. Every day one of us says, “We got another day.” We know these are bonus days and we don’t take them for granted. I am so thankful for my growing family, and grateful for extended family scattered across America. To those who can’t be with us, I wish you a very happy thanksgiving. We have an empty chair at our table this year as our Mimi left us to join her beloved husband in Heaven. Mindful of others who have left us, I can still say God has blessed us.
When I think of all our friends, my heart could almost burst. We have precious life-long friends, and those who have come along more recently. I am grateful for a Bible-teaching church and a fellowship of Believers who hold the ropes for each other. I am thankful for 48 years of affiliation with Stonecroft Ministries and the opportunities to share the Gospel. I love my Tulsa Woven girls! I am blessed to attend Community Bible Study, where I have deepened my relationship with the Lord and made deep friendships. Bible Quilt Journaling and the ladies who are a part of it bless me with a different method of meditating on Scripture.
It is noon and the alarm on my watch has just alerted me to pray for America. I have thought many times how grateful I am that I was born in the USA. Oh how I love this beautiful land of ours, and how I long to see another Great Awakening. Jerry and I have been blessed to see a good deal of America, but there are still National Parks we hope to explore. I am grateful for the freedoms we have, and for those who died to protect those freedoms.
Most of all, I am thankful for the privilege of knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ. He has provided me with everything I need, and kept every promise He has made to me. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds the future. And for that I am indescribably thankful.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Is. 46:4 NLT