Monday, November 19, 2012

This is Thanksgiving Week

Many college kids are already home, having started their break last Friday.  School teachers are looking forward to Wednesday evening and cessation from kids, grading, testing and everything else. Business people are desperately trying to get everything done before the long weekend, families are planning to travel, people are planning big meals and yet others are preparing for the big shopping day that happens on Friday.  It's one of those crazy weeks that is a holiday for practically everyone.  How can you not enjoy a holiday that simply requires you to say Thank You!

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was one of the few big holidays that didn't require us to be at church.  Dad generally planned his Thanksgiving service for Sunday evenings and everything else was canceled for the week.  By the time Wednesday evening rolled around, everyone just relaxed because for the next twenty-four hours, there was absolutely nothing going on

Living in a Pastor's house at Christmas and Easter isn't necessarily the best place to be holy.  Prior to those holidays, Dad turned into a bear and Mom wasn't much better. There were programs to prepare, choirs to rehearse, extra services to design, volunteers to wrangle, then don't forget all of the family things that had to happen. Christmas was always stressful because Dad knew money was going to flow out as quickly as he could bring it in and so he would fight and spit with Mom over every little thing.  She was quite frugal and there were many years she spent hours creating wonderful gifts for us rather than spending money in the stores.  And honestly, I'll tell you that those gifts are the ones we three kids remember the most.  By the time we got to the Christmas Eve service our nerves were all frazzled and we acknowledged there was one more Christmas in the books and it was time to move on.  Christmas Day would come and go and everyone relaxed because we had some time before the Easter craziness kicked off.  That week was nuts with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter sunrise and then two regular services.  Once again, tempers were frayed and we just waited for it to be over.

Thanksgiving was just not like that.  We didn't travel anywhere, we just stayed home and relaxed and enjoyed the day. Dad wasn't stressed out because Mom had spent money on gifts, He didn't have to talk to people or manage services.  Mom wasn't upset about anything, it was just a nice day.

Because legend had it that the Pilgrims had five kernels of corn that first Thanksgiving in the New World, Dad began a tradition of giving thanks for five things.  He would get five kernels of seed corn and place those on our plates.  Then, we went around the table; each giving thanks for one thing and eating a kernel.  Mom began serving cooked sweet corn and he would put five kernels of that on our plates, that was much better.  Then, all of a sudden, Dad's sweet tooth kicked in and we got five pieces of candy corn on our plates.  Those were the good years.  But, each year, before the meal started, we sat down to a plate with five kernels of corn and we remembered that we had a great deal to be thankful for in our lives.

We still have a great deal to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family. They love me.

I'm thankful for friends. Those whom have known me for decades and those whom have known me for just a short time.  They all bring color and depth to my life.

I'm thankful for a mind that allows me to learn and find joy in learning.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to live in a country where I am free to be who I am, to worship the God I love, to associate with people I care for and to express my thoughts without fear of reprisal.

I'm thankful for a life lived knowing Jesus Christ personally.  There are so many other choices I could have made and I'm grateful that He continually drew me close.

Can you come up with five things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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