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Chaplain: Thanksgiving reflections

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15, NIV).

My first memory of Thanksgiving happened when I was about five. A sheet of plywood had been placed on top of a pool table in the basement. The wood was covered with some type of tablecloth (probably a sheet). Smaller tables were nearby for the children. A lot of my extended family came for dinner. Enough food was on the main table to feed a small army. A few thoughts stand out, today.

Everyone seemed glad to be there.

I recall boisterous conversation and laughter. From the moment that my relatives started to arrive, they were well received by everyone present. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, no one sulked in a corner or complained about the food. We were all happy to share a meal with many who we did not see frequently. It was a time to feel good about being together.

Differences were put aside for the day.

On that day, no old grievances were aired, and no skeletons were extracted from the closet. If anyone was upset or angry at others, it was never apparent. No one came to pick a fight or make a point. The attitude of Thanksgiving for a great family, a great nation, a great God, and a great meal overshadowed everything else. We all need times when we can be together as a family and realize that blood is indeed thicker than water.

No one should have left hungry.

A day of Thanksgiving implies a day of sharing. I can recall dishes of food making laps around the table. For a few large items, sometimes the plates were passed toward the food and back. Expressions of “try this” were common during the meal. To a child, the dinner seemed to last for a long time.

I have tried to reflect this memory at my own family’s Thanksgivings.

Our tables of Thanksgiving have been filled will all of the usual foods. More than this, it has been surrounded most years by more than our nuclear family. Extended family, friends, and others who needed encouragement and support have been invited to join us in celebrating Thanksgiving Day. Always before filling our plates with the scrumptious food, we remember to be thankful to the Lord who has so generously provided everything for us.

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