Thanksgiving must be right around the corner, the Christmas decorations are up in the stores. That’s a topic for another day….
Two random thoughts crossed my mind as I pondered the coming of Thanksgiving this year. I thought about my childhood celebrations of the holiday. My siblings and I spent all our holidays with my mom’s family. On Thanksgiving, my Uncle Lee would always say the prayer before we ate and I remember the first time I recognized it wasn’t the grace before meals that I was accustomed too.
When Uncle Lee prayed it was like he was talking directly to Jesus, like a close friend. Inviting him to join us, asking him to bless all of us and telling him how much we loved him and how grateful we were that he loved us. You’d have thought Jesus was right there with us passing the potatoes.
The other thought I had about Thanksgiving was that some aspects of the holiday are very predictable, the turkey, dressing, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and a room full of sleeping men pretending to watch a football game after dinner.
But as much as things seem the same, each Thanksgiving is different. The celebration of the holiday marks the passing of time in subtle but remarkable ways. I remember the first time my mom couldn’t make the meal herself anymore, her Parkinson’s wouldn’t allow it. I made a turkey for the first time. I didn’t know there was a bag of “goodies” inside the carcass that wasn’t meant for the oven. Yikes!
There were the years with a kiddie table where the little ones sat, for about 5 minutes, squeezing mash potatoes through the gaps in their missing teeth, laughing hysterically, then running off to play. Before we knew it the kids at the kiddie table didn’t resemble little kids anymore. Their hysterical laughter came following hushed stories of college escapades.
There were the years filled with joy when we added a chair and whispered: “think they’ll get married?” And then the year we added a high chair. And then sadder years when there was one less chair.
Time marches on. These yearly holidays bring to light how quickly time passes and how change is inevitable. As my grandma use to say “Nothing stays the same.”
I know one thing that has stayed the same though. Thanks in part to Uncle Lee, I know that the real and personal Jesus we prayed to every Thanksgiving is always there with us and always will be. And for that I am grateful.
Look for him, In the laughter, in the tears, in the tv room snoring.