Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV
Thanksgiving is a sweet holiday. It’s a time to pause in reflective thankfulness to God our Father. It’s a time to enjoy family and friends without the pressure and stress that gift exchanges can often bring. It’s a cozy holiday of feasting, a chance to look forward to that ultimate feast that we will one day enjoy in heaven. We invite others to join us around the table, just as God has invited us into His family to feast at His table.
This fall God has been slowly teaching me to “take joy at my place at the table,” as one song puts it. Instead of giving way to envy or discontentment when I compare my lot in life to someone else’s, I can take joy at this exact place at the table that God has set for me. More fundamental than that, though, I can take joy that I have a place at all at God’s family table. How quickly I lose sight of the fact that I don’t deserve a place in the kingdom of God, but he has graciously invited me in and provided the way to a relationship with him through his son, Jesus. I have a place at the King’s table!
Because November is a busy month of birthdays for us, Thanksgiving often sneaks up on me. I wanted a way to prepare our hearts and to teach the kids gratitude, so I bought some fabric leaves and clothespins and strung a piece of twine above our fireplace. Each day Silas and Cooper picked one thing they were thankful for, I wrote in on a leaf, and the kids pinned it to the string. By the end of the month, we had a nice decoration and had created space for conversations about being thankful for God’s gifts to us. Thanksgiving morning, after a family breakfast, we read through all the thankful leaves and then had the kids drop them from the landing as a fun way to wrap up.
The kids also memorized Psalm 100 and quoted it for us Thanksgiving morning. I’m hoping we can work on more scripture memorization, especially since it comes easily for them at these ages. One Sunday afternoon we took the kids to a nearby church to walk through the Compassion Experience. As we walked through the display–learning about the life of a child in another country and seeing a glimpse into their world–we hoped it sparked thankfulness, compassion, and a love for others in the kids’ hearts.
After watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, we loaded our pies and green bean casserole into the van and drove to a friend’s house.
Before the meal, our friend (one of the elders at our church) shared the gospel from Acts 17 . He reminded us that God has given us all these good things for a purpose, and that purpose is so we might seek after and know God. As verse 27 so beautifully says,
“That they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us”
The food was delicious, the conversations edifying, and the friendships sweet.
We finished out our day with a family movie night at home. I think this was my favorite Thanksgiving so far.