This year is the first year since 2009 I’ve been able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. My parents and I are going to Florida, and when we come back we are meeting up with my brothers and their families to share a meal together (mom’s not cooking though, we’re going out!)
It’s weird how things change when you grow up. There’s a shuffling around period during young adulthood when traditions fall to the wayside and make room for new ones. (like the annual excursion to Florida…)
Growing up we would have my mom’s relatives down, or go up to my great aunt’s house in Nashville (we called her Sister). By far I loved going to Sister’s house because the food was always spectacular (a true Southern Lady for sure) but also because it was like going to a different time. It was outside of my normal world and so it meant I spent more time with my family. I didn’t have the distractions of my own home to keep me from interacting with people.
As I got older and, sadly, relatives became unable to travel (and then went to be with sweet Jesus), and so those traditions fell away. But new ones sprang up.
When I moved to Murfreesboro at some point I started going to the Thanksgiving Day service. Probably because my brothers became so scattered and had families of their own it was hard to get them to come “home” for Thanksgiving. So we did it on a different day, like the following Friday or Saturday. Anyway, as I became more fully involved with my parish family here I wanted to spend Thanksgiving at church. We have a beautiful little service and then a giant pot luck lunch after. It is so very special to come together with my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, to give thanks to God and to share in the fruits of our labors together I have cherished all of my Thanksgivings there.
Some years I couldn’t be with my family because I worked retail and couldn’t miss work the following day, so it was really special to still be able to celebrate at St. Paul’s.
Year before last I was in Hong Kong for Thanksgiving. It was tough to be so far away from my family. I skyped them and I got to see everyone, but it was definitely bittersweet. But, I went to the apartment of some dear friends and we had our own Thanksgiving. We roasted chickens in toaster ovens (sans heads and feet, thankyouverymuch) and shared wine and laughs. In a far off land I was so thankful to have people to be with. It made me really appreciate the blessings of my life.
So I hope this year you are giving thanks, but not only that–I hope you are praying for those who can’t make it home. Pray for your fellows to have peace in their hearts, to find family where they can, to cherish what is all around. May God bless you and keep you, and make his face to shine upon you. Amen, amen.