At The Table
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
I spent some time writing a week ago for something to read on Thanksgiving Day when we were all gathered around the table. It’s kind of a holiday tradition for me, writing something from the holiday heart.
Life was filled up this morning with making sure my potato casseroles and corn casseroles were done to perfection and getting everything on my list out to the car and ready to go by 11:45. I remembered every single thing on my list except for my Thanksgiving writing. It was when we were gathered around the table I remembered what I forgot.
I remembered my writing again this evening as we relaxed after all the turkey and pies. Finding my last copy I had printed out by my computer, I sat and read it to my husband. In response, he said to me, “Why don’t you put more things like this on your blog?” Sigh. Great idea, honey, I need to. I was so excited for this space earlier this year.
Honestly, I feel like I “hit a wall” this summer. I have a lot to learn about blogging and the terminology surrounding it — making sure the tags are tagged, themes proper, categories categorized, widgets all arranged, etc. It became easier just to post on Facebook. So, with the encouragement of my husband, I am back on track accordingly.
I hope you will be blessed with the writing for this Thanksgiving Day, humbly written below before the hours wind down to meet Black Friday….
Back to the Table
As the name tags are made each year to be placed around the Thanksgiving table, I have time to be creative. I see each person’s name take shape on a card that is folded small before each plate with a name that represents who each person is. There usually are 12-14 people who settle in and find their name around the table — my Mom and Dad’s table. Family, friends, and strangers gather here.
One of the traditions we have is to figure out where everyone will sit. Each year new people’s faces are seen around the table — people who gather with us because they have been invited, because they would otherwise have been alone, and because gathering them together here is what we do. We try to determine who the new people should sit next to, sometimes for them to hopefully feel more comfortable, sometimes to accommodate left handed people like me, and sometimes to give opportunity to get to know someone in particular better.
I remember years ago when around the table were only extended family. As family grew, moved away, and life moved a bit faster in different lanes, we then started to be the inviter of the lonely and the ones who needed to be needed on holidays. This is what abundance is all about.
“For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Psalm 107:9, NLT
The table is always filled with food that fills and satisfies the moments and where the aroma fills the senses and puts smiles on faces that gather. Each year seems different, yet abundance always enters the hearts of those around the table. I have never seen anyone leave without the friendship that happens around Mom and Ted’s table. The thanks shared by each person brings laughter above and beyond what the heart may have been holding upon entering their home.
I am grateful for the people who have joined our family over the years. I remember how we would look for people who needed to be there. Life is an incredible opportunity to reach out and share beyond the four walls of family. It is a blessing that fills the heart and makes people feel wanted. It is an opportunity to serve and to love.
A Table of Provision
When I think about the table God has provided for me, I get a glimpse of His goodness and abundance. The table is one of harvest, of connecting, and letting the cares fall away. God’s table is full of emotions, sweet fellowship, and the rising of bread and of thanks. This table is His table with provision for all that I need.
When I look at the Thanksgiving table for this Thanksgiving Day, it will look a lot smaller than the usual full table with our elbows touching like we are used to. We may be yearning for more connection in this pandemic time, but I do know this — His table is still provided for us with a provision of goodness and a depth of love that only He can give. We yearn for more, and yet He yearns for more connection, with us. He yearns to fill us with relationship. He came so we may have abundance and connection with Him. It is at His table that we need to sit with thanks ever rising.
“He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
Psalm 103:5, NLT
The Giving of Gratitude
A couple months ago I was on a book launch team for Author, Twila Dawn Franz, who writes at www.theuncommonnormal.com, for her new book, “Cultivating A Missional Life: A 30-Day Devotional To Gently Help You Open Your Heart, Home, and Life to Your Neighbors”. I carry her book around with me and found her devotional on Day #10 on Gratitude fit with my writing here. She writes,
“Giving gratitude tethers us to the one who receives our thanks and empowers us to carry on his mission in small, seemingly ordinary ways in our homes and neighborhoods. It affects the way we notice, value, and love those around us.”
The Giving Away of a Meal
One of the highlights of today was to deliver meals to some of those who usually would have come to the table except for COVID-19. Out of caution, Mom and Ted thought it would be nice to deliver a meal to three people who normally would have been around our table but who live alone.
Ted, my stepdad, and Max, my son, were the delivery drivers of the meal. Mom and I filled the plates with hot food, cards, a special name tag, and all the traditional Thanksgiving Day food. Steve, my husband, while they were gone was outside trying to get Mom and Ted’s car to start as the battery had died. He successfully was able to get it going before all the deliveries were done.
They delivered them one by one, then came back to pick up another plate full for the next person. It was quite the adventure for a grandpa with his cane and his grandson to journey together on the back roads of life to deliver a hot meal for those who were alone today.
On our way out the door tonight, we talked about how we all enjoyed the new tradition of delivering meals. It felt good to do this for three people. I have a feeling that our holiday meals in the future may always include the delivery for someone who may just need a bit of holiday love in this way. We also look forward to the day when the table will be filled again with elbows touching and grateful hearts.
At the End of the Day
As I sit here at my computer as Thanksgiving Day 2020 comes to a close, in the quietness around me I hear the sound of my computer and see the lights shining brightly beside me on a little live Christmas tree my son bought for me. I am satisfied, full, and grateful for the ways in which I made connections with those in my life today. I have not spoken to everyone I love or seen them all, and I would have enjoyed more of those connections. I was able to get glimpses around the country of my family near and far in their Thanksgiving celebrations. At dinner we talked about what each of our families were doing today, because Mom and Ted know about them all and the timing of all of their gatherings.
As you find Thanksgiving Day 2020 coming to a close, may your heart find gratitude mixed in with everything you have experienced today and know that God’s table of provision is also for you wherever you are and whatever road you walk on tonight.
As for me and this blog, I am finding myself quite at home here tonight in this space. I think I have entered a place I belong and where creativity lives in the quiet moments. I think I will be back much sooner to visit and find connection here.
Blessings to you as we look forward to the Advent season — one of my most favorite times of the year.