Thanksgiving Eve, 2021. When the small town you landed in way back when, turns into a little city where everyone wants to live, the holidays change too. Live music outside the grocery store, people milling about everywhere and an abundance of everything….except rosemary! There is a sense that everyone is preparing with anticipation that “gathering” is fully back. It is almost as if everyone is praying that we are all “OK” as we gather. I get it. Being with friends and family in this season is a huge gift! A lot of life has happened in the past 20 months. No one and no family is exactly the same. It’s OK for us just to name it.
The grace of bridging the past with a still unfolding future is not an ordinary move. It’s different. People have been through things. Grief has entered our lives in waves we’ve not before experienced. Joys have been greater; sorrows have been deeper. We are still trying to sort out what our “normal” will be; all the while holding our hands wide open to what we have yet to see.
We are preparing (actually, I did no preparing) to walk/run the Turkey Trot in the morning. It is a favorite way to begin the day and support our local food bank. I love beginning Thanksgiving Day with the community and for a great cause. It makes the feast even better.
I pulled my grandmother’s stitched wisdom from where it hangs and placed it on the kitchen counter today. I don’t want to miss it as I prepare to celebrate this Thanksgiving. Her signature is on the back: dated 1968, along with her address label from Gracey, KY. Grandma Lester’s wisdom is something we all may need as we gather on Thanksgiving Day 2021. In some strange way, I wonder if she stitched it so we would be faced with seeing it many years later. Perhaps even before hosting friends and family at our tables.
Whatever you have prepared for Thanksgiving Day – it is enough. Whoever gathers at your table will be blessed by your love, whether it is with one or with fifty. The house doesn’t have to be spotless. The food will be good, however little or much. The setting doesn’t have to be any more than is naturally there. What does matter, is how much love is present. This is why people come to the feast.
God, please bless our tables with your grace. Let our love for the people gathered be the most important gift we bring. Fill the empty chairs with your presence so any grief is met with your love and comfort. Season our conversations with the wisdom of your spirit. Help us to hear one another with compassion and curiosity. Remind us, Lord, of all the ways you have been so faithful and present with us! However you stir us in this season of gratitude, we thank you. We trust you, Lord, and we love you. Amen.