“Enter his gates with Thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100:4-5 NLT)
A table full of food and laughter. Joy. Family memories. Those recollections, and so much more, bring a smile to my face and my heart as I recall Thanksgiving 1988 at my Aunt Irene’s house, as we crowded around a make-shift table in the living room and shared so much more than a meal.
I came across this picture several days ago in an old family photo album. Remember the ancient version, where you had to peel back the page and “stick” the pictures on to adhere, and then smooth it carefully back down so nothing wrinkles?! Yeah, that kind. I even have several Polaroid pictures tucked into this album which really makes me feel older.
Oh, the nostalgia of it all.
Which is why this particular Thansgiving stands out to me. Three women– my mom, Aunt Irene, and family friend Carol Ann–would pass away from cancer much too young, and leave a legacy of memories that live in the details emerging and felt from this picture.
There is no way my sixteen year old self could have imagined the short window of time each one of my family members had beyond that beautiful Thanksgiving day. Precious times. Precious memories. Which is why, creating relaionships and spending time together so important to me.
Here comes the cliché and cheesy part, so cover your ears and recite, “la-la-la-la-la” if you don’t want to hear it, BUT, it is so true that relationships and spending time with those you love is the most important and lasting aspect of your life!
Honestly, I look at this picture and reflect on the people, love, and amazing memories that were created. Because I know, deep in my heart, we were created to love just as Jesus loves us (John 15:12).
Our God created us to love, fellowship , and care for all of the people He brings into each of our lives. Is it easy? No, but it is worth it and when we surrender our hearts and lives to Jesus, He gives us all we need to accomplish any task He places before us.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)
This Thanksgiving, I urge you to take some time and be thankful for that moment. That special time God has given you to love, create memories, and focus on the people that He invited to the table around you. There is no accident or coincidence in that.
Live. Love. Forgive. Laugh. Be in the moment. Be thankful. Share the love of Jesus with all of the generations seated at the table and change ALL of their tomorrows.
Perhaps, just like me, you may not be given another chance. The Thanksgiving I shared with my mom, Aunt Irene, and Carol Ann in 1988 was the time last we were all sharing a meal together. I am eternally grateful to God for that time of love, laughter, and memories.
I would like to close with a prayer by Joyce Meyer from her, “The Power of Being Thankful” devotional:
“Father, I am grateful for the relationships I have with the people in my life. Let your love flow through me as I purpose to strengthen these relationships. I thank you that I can do my part to build healthy, life-giving, stress-free relationships.” In Jesus name. Amen.
All the Glory to God,
Meyer, Joyce. “The Power of Being Thankful.” Stress-free Relationships, November 19. Faith Words Publisher. Printed. November 26, 2019.