“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
Memories of childhood celebrations spent with my big family are joyful ones. After a long boring church service followed by a long boring drive to the family homestead, the real fun began: Lots of great food, hiking through pastures with cousins, dodging cow patties thrown by brothers, exploring ram shackled homes we never should have entered, finding treasures, like glass medicine bottles, amongst the rubble.
More food then off to shop at the Christmas House. Evening ghost stories with Uncle Ronnie and big talk of driving to the graveyard to knock on the mausoleum door. Finally, Daddy would proclaim, “Time to hit the road… Head’m up and move’m out!” Hugs all around before we’d pile into the station wagon. I’d sleep with my feet in Daddy’s lap and my head in Mama’s, my pockets stuffed with pilfered sour balls from Grandma’s candy dish.
As life rolled on, Thanksgiving changed. In the early days with my own children, we often lived in isolated areas with only my husband’s side of the family nearby. But those celebrations stretched me, and showed me I’m no slave to tradition. I chose to embrace the changes and found unspeakable beauty and joy in them.
One particular Thanksgiving in North Carolina stands out vividly. We awoke to a magical wonderland outside our window. Snow is HUGE for native Floridians. We flung back the blinds and thanked God for His awesome creation.
We stayed home that year. We had each prepared handmade cards for each other. Even my hubby had made time to write love notes. After dinner, we all read aloud our “Why I am thankful for you…” cards. I was a jolly mess.
The children had memorized a sweet poem about the Pilgrims and recited it. We read the 100th Psalm. I made a ton of food and didn’t lose my mind. The kids played in the snow with Walmart bags tied over their sneakers and socks for mittens. I read a novel with tea and pie instead of cleaning the kitchen.
Each Thanksgiving is different, even if it’s the same. I pray your Thanksgiving memories bring joy to your heart and inspire you to look for new ways to thank God for His awesome gifts of life and love.
Here is the poem my children learned:
Across the Atlantic, from England they came,
To worship the Lord and honor His name.
After many a fright and weeks at the sea,
They spied America and knelt to their knees.
They thanked our great God for His mighty power
and for keeping them safe aboard the Mayflower.