Today my firstborn turned 30. And I’m just not sure how that happened! Sweet newborn smells, tufts of red hair, squeaky crying, and wrapping her in the hospital blanket still seems unmistakably recent to her parents.
I remember my mom arriving and helping me breathe deeply through my new mom tears, helping me believe this fragile bundle was really quite strong. A week later all three of my sisters and my dad arrived to celebrate the first grandbaby/niece.
Oh, and Thanksgiving!
Last weekend we held the memorial service for my 30 year old nephew who didn’t wake up the morning after Trick or Treating with his family. His wife was his sweetheart since meeting her on Bus 23 in the eighth grade. His two little girls were his favorite dance partners and the reason he was a stay at home dad for their first years.
Oh, and Thanksgiving doesn’t feel right in this dark, interrupted season.
In many ways and spaces, Americans will gather to celebrate this fourth Thursday in November.
Families, friends will find their spot while strangers will gather at huge tables while other strangers cheerfully serve them a hot meal. Military members, first responders, hospital employees, care giving homes will be on alert even as they share the day. Our tables may feel beautifully full or achingly sad. There may be a new life or an empty seat.
Remember, Jesus enjoyed gathering around the table. Even when some were not happy with his choice of company. Even when some were grumpy there was no help in the kitchen. Jesus knew His time on earth was about relationships. He came to make a way for God to have all His creation at The Table with Him. Jesus would remind us that thanks living brings miracles. Thankful words expressed in
- holding up two loaves and five fish to heaven
- prayers in front of Lazarus’ tomb
- words spoken over spilled out perfume and tears
- the prayers for His followers
- dying breaths from the cross giving John the care of His mother
- “It is finished!”
Sisters, today is what we have. Whatever your season, God is present. Cry with thanks or in grief. Welcome His life. Trust His comfort. Believe His truth. Oh, Sweet Thanksgiving!