Do you remember the song in Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye sings about the importance of tradition and what it means to his people? That was one of the most powerful songs in the musical and I can still remember him belting it out with his beard and customary Israeli garb as he tries to instill in his sons the value of family and religious and social practices through the generations. So what is it about tradition? It is the security and stability of consistency. It is the making of memories that are dependable and predictable, mixed in with the occasional glitches, fiascos or wonderful surprises that make for great storytelling and reminiscing as the years go by! It is also a Thanksgiving when the turkey burned, when someone got stuck in an airport (please Lord, not this year I pray!) or when someone showed up at the door unexpectedly to open arms and joyful, tear-filled eyes.
Perhaps it is a Thanksgiving when someone wasn't there for the first time as they always had been, or someone was there for the very first time who came into the world since last year's celebration! It is grateful hearts and heads bent in prayer, thanking God for blessings we don't deserve and bonds that carry us through life's trials. It is gratitude for births and grief shared and therefore diminished in saying goodbye. It is meeting a new member of the family and welcoming them warmly as promises are made.
I hope that we were all able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with prayers full of gratitude for the families God has given us, the children He has blessed us with, the parents who will not always be with us... Did we come away from the table with hearts full of thankfulness, not just stomachs full of delicious-ness! We must teach our children that the food on the table is provided by God, our provider ~ Jehovah Jireh ~ and it is something we must NEVER take for granted...for there are many around the world less fortunate than we! And so we say grace and thank God for His provision.
I also pray that we have been grateful for the traditions that tie our families together with bonds that are strong and resilient. Let us thank God for the treasure of family relationships that support us in the daily grind and give us the courage and even the bounce in our step as we forge ahead in life. For again, there are so many broken families, struggling to love each other, challenged to make ends meet, living in circumstances that are heartbreaking, with little to no love or gratitude to go around.
Yes, let us give thanks every day, not just on Thanksgiving but especially on Thanksgiving! After all, it is a day for "thanks - giving"...I pray that over the years, we never leave out the best and most profound part; in all things, give thanks to God! (Psalm 9:1 1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. 2: I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.)
Ann Van De Water ~ Author, MOMMY MEMOIRS
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God bless us everyone!