Do holidays and other occasions make you reflective? They do that to me! Thanksgiving holds so many memories for me. When I was in elementary school, Thanksgiving and Christmas were frequently spent at my grandparents homes. In those days there were cousins a’plenty, and lots of aunts and uncles, too.
Now, those of a ahem certain age, will remember a Thanksgiving from our childhoods–right after President Kennedy was assassinated. The wake and funeral were a time of national mourning. At the time we were thankful to have each other to lean on. Thanksgiving forever after had a certain tinge. The following Thanksgiving season my twin cousins were born. Now my Thanksgivings were colored with joyous joy. Isn’t it amazing how one event changes everything? It does. The same Thanksgiving season one of my grandma’s died….arrivals and departures….tears of joy and sorrow.
The Thanksgiving after that, one of my uncles got married (he was one of my heroes when I was a little girl). Two days after his wedding we moved from Winona back to Minneapolis! So many thanksgiving memories, right? Weeping to leave my little town and rejoicing to be back in the same town as some of my cousins!
Thanksgivings rolled by uneventfully for awhile~but consisted of grand times with relatives; laughing, eating, playing, and loving the togetherness. Four years later—Thanksgiving weekend again, we moved from MN to Chicago. Weeping once again to leave my cousins and friends. Of course, the ensuing years brought many new friends! Sometimes we’d journey back to MN over Thanksgiving to see some of my cousins/aunts/uncles/ and grandparents.
How oddly bookendish-then, that 15 years after leaving MN, Thanksgiving found us living in MN again—and our daughter being born. How rejoicing and sorrowful that was–as we were grateful for miraculously talented doctors. They snatched her from death’s door and through 8 surgeries in 10 months they gave us a gift. For awhile, Thanksgiving was sorrowful again….but no, not forever!
Since then, throughout the waxing and waning that is our earthly life, Thanksgiving has me counting our blessings. The ups, the downs, the gains, the losses, the triumphs, the sorrows….through it all~ the Lord of Thanksgiving enfolds us.
We are blessed, my friends. Not in the ways that garner us fame and fortune necessarily. You see, even through the gotchas of life, God loves us. He stands behind us; His hand on our shoulders. The sources of our suffering may always cause pain. The thorn is always on the rose. After an ice storm, the whole world looks like a gorgeous crystal palace.
But Thanksgiving truly does make me reflective. It helps to remind me each year…..yes there is, will be, and has been weeping. But oh my, has there been laughter, too. Moments that make me say, upon reflection….”Lord, you were there then, too….ah, of course you were….no wonder I walked through that time. Your grace….”
May your Thanksgiving me tinged with grace, memories, some laughter….and nostalgic tears. Have a blessed day.