How was your Thanksgiving Day?
Ever since Halloween, I’ve threatened to cancel Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Even before my husband’s visit to an Emergency Room on November 1st, life events stacked higher than a packet of Jenga blocks. An unseen hand kept sliding the planned pieces from my life, leaving holes of unfortunate events. I’m no dummy. It didn’t take me long to realize I had to take one day at a time.
At that point, Thanksgiving was a long way away.
I’ve shared in this blog about our eventful November. I thought a wedding and a surgery was enough to test my peace-o-meter. But the Monday before Thanksgiving, we found we had more crises stuffed into our lives than co-ed bodies stuffed into a 1970’s style Volkswagen.
A doctor found the source of my husband’s infection that was delaying his hernia surgery. “This needs to be taken care of right away,” the doctor said. “How about surgery Wednesday? You’ll have to stay home all day Thursday then come back Friday morning for the post-op appointment.”
Wednesday? The day before Thanksgiving? Did we have any big plans? Uh, no, no plans. Who has had time for plans? One daughter was coming home but the other daughter was on medical call and planning a wedding, you see. With Jack not feeling well, I had not even been to the grocery store. Since I don’t drive, I rely on him or other people. Besides we couldn’t predict what Jack would feel like eating. We had no Thanksgiving guests, no Thanksgiving food, and not much Thanksgiving appetite. Black Friday shopping? Hear me laugh. It wasn’t happening.
All the traditional parts of Thanksgiving Day that people most look forward weren’t happening.
No big family. No Community Thanksgiving service the night before. No friends over for the day. No inviting international students like we’ve done before. No turkey, stuffing, or pumpkin of any sort. If Jack did eat, it would have to be healthy and light. What did I have on hand? A whole chicken, ingredients for my homemade rolls the family views as a sacred tradition, Grandma’s lime Jello salad, and fresh green beans that our daughter bought before she boarded her Trailways bus.
I could have been depressed. I could have focused on what a glum Thanksgiving this would bee. Lonely, empty and forlorn. I could have been jealous of other people’s extravagant feasts, and houses stuffed with relatives. I wasn’t. Okay, I did start to tip when a Facebook friend glibly asked what items people were running to the store last minute to get. In our rural town with the nearest full service grocery store fifteen miles away and me without a driver’s license – if we didn’t have it, we were doing without. One kind friend, hearing of our situation, volunteered to bring me a bottle of dark corn syrup so I could make a pecan pie. That bottle contained liquid gold in my estimation.
As I sat down to our simple fare, I looked at my table and then at my family. I was so incredibly grateful. God had brought us through so much. He used a hernia to reveal a problem that has possibly lay dormant for years and that, once discovered, was easily fixed. We have a loving church who has encircled us and cared for us. Long before Jack’s health issues emerged, the church had arranged for two guest speakers back to back for the two Sundays when Jack was at his worst and couldn’t preach.
We had plenty of food. Yes, it wasn’t the normal Thanksgiving dishes but it was food, more than enough food for the three of us. Our simple feast reminded us that God had cared and provided for us day by day. We could give thanks to the Lord for His enduring love because we had experienced it first hand.
When I told Jack we were making do with what we had for Thanksgiving Day, he grinned.
“Just like the Pilgrims.”
Why, come to think of it, yes. The Pilgrims couldn’t run to the store. They didn’t save their dollars for special ingredients. They made a feast out of what they had. Most of all, they were grateful – the written records prove that. They focused not on the feast or the friends, but on the gratitude they felt for all God had done for them.
The best part of our day came after the meal. Christine handed each of us three coins. Each of us recounted the things we were thankful for:
- God’s provision during Jack’s health crisis.
- The opportunities for travel and service He had given us in the last year.
- The provision of a godly man our other daughter will marry December 9th.
- The growth and maturity we see in the people God has given us to serve in the ministry.
- The abundant blessings of always enough for each day.
We didn’t need turkeys, a Macy’s parade, football, or a Black Friday deal. Friends and family were a call away if we needed them. Our cups overflowed with what we had.
Just like the Pilgrims.