We read the books and discuss the theories of the first Thanksgiving, and my kids re-enact the Pilgrims' adventure to Plymouth Rock. It’s a happy play they put on, one sanitized almost 400 years later with feasts, feathers, and festive dance. Of course, with my three boys the “turkey hunt” is the highlight of their production, and I hear statements such as, “It’s not fair that we have to get our turkey from the grocery store” (yes, we are city slickers without apology). I do my best to re-create Hallmark’s Thanksgiving around my own 21st century table, but I’m reminded that it’s not how the presentation looks. I can’t imagine that the Pilgrims were caught up in their menu plans on that first Thanksgiving. These were the ones who lived without shelter, faced sickness and disease, buried their own, and brushed the nose of death themselves.
As I’m surveying our place settings, the thought hits me hard. I am the Pilgrim. I wandered away, I lost everything, and I nearly faced death. God in his grace rescued me from my own self, and He paid the price so I could live. Forever. He set me on solid ground, gave me life, and placed me on mission. With grace we’re on mission to live Thanksgiving every day of the year. Giving thanks – and giving because we want to say thanks. Giving money, giving time, giving words, giving prayers, giving love, giving ourselves all to say thanks to the One who ultimately gave.
Sometimes it take a near-death experience to make you really appreciate what you have. Just as the Pilgrims recognized the significance of their survival that first year, may I never forget how my life was rescued for eternity.
P.S. I’ve got a great online community who worships God with gratitude, and I can’t wait to share more about how you can join in too! For now, here are some things I’m grateful for this week:
1. warm little boy breath in my face whispering for me to get up in the morning
2. leaves spread all over the yard serving as the great equalizer of all our neighbors’
3. notarized signatures on adoption applications
4. spices leftover at the bottom of warm mugs after the last sip of cider
5. the daily question from excited children about how many days until the Christmas tree
6. fake snow perfectly placed for a mall photo-op on a 70 degree November day
7. cousin sleepovers and family bonds that overcome the miles between us
8. sister chats and unspoken understanding
9. quiet nights and warm, fuzzy blankets
10. challenging books that make me want to really get it right
11. baby-sitters who have the house clean and kids happy at the end of a special night
12. extended gym time so an extra piece of pumpkin cheesecake won’t really matter