A Different Thanksgiving

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6


Aside from the years when I was incarcerated, I have made Thanksgiving dinner my entire adult life. My favorite holiday of all, I appreciate that there are no gifts, no no one person who is being honored, just a gathering of people to participate in an exercise of gratitude. The recipes for each dish are mostly stored in my mind, muscle memory meal making at its best. I know how many potatoes to peel, how much dressing to make. Every year, I add another pie, too many pies, because, well, dessert with coffee or wine after the big mess is cleaned and we have taken a walk is just delightful. I adore feeding people. That is when my heart is singing, when my soul feels closest to free. But this year, I am not cooking. Facing the fact that our nest has emptied and we are at a crossroads with others who have taken too much, I know I cannot make this meal with the same generous heart. Instead, I will spend the day presenting my requests to God.

More and more I am realizing that shedding is necessary for new growth, that allowing some things to fall away so that others may find room, this preparation time is as critical to success as all the lists I make for shopping for the big meal. I am being prepared, I cannot see what is coming, yet I know, I can feel, that God is pleased with my growing ability to accept today. To stop living in hopes for tomorrow, in memories of yesterday, to see that with each step forward, I am traveling onto His path. For that I am thankful, that I am able to release the biggest events and worries and wishes to the One who understands, the One who knows each grain of sand, the One who knows what is coming.

Thanksgiving is coming, I am not making shopping lists or gathering napkins and tablecloths. I am instead remembering each day how God is blessing me with new beginnings, second chances, deep friendships, opportunities to serve. Even without piles of food on the table, I remain as grateful as ever.

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