Was your Thanksgiving celebration happy or hectic, blessed or burdensome, sweet or sour? Last year, my extended family gathered together at my brother’s house the weekend after Thanksgiving. What a time we had! Snoring folks and the heater’s hum filled the air; dawn peeked over the serene setting of White Lake, and my heart stirred to share a story of thankfulness. I write this story on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2009, but it will stay safely stored in my computer until shared with you next year — same holiday, same preparations, same shopping frenzy on Friday, same school plays with Indians and Pilgrims, same family gatherings,but so much can be different. I watch the sun rise over the still water and remember.
Nov. 7, 2012: Today, I found the story above that was lost in my computer for three years. My words reminded me of a holiday tradition that keeps my family connected and a year when I was stuck in the past and finishing my story was just too painful. Celebrating on any day, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, without Tim seemed so wrong. Things were so different those first years when our family circle had been broken. Watching the sun rise wherever I was gave hope and reason to be thankful for another day, even though so much about my life was different. Many of you are celebrating the holidays the same, but so much is different. We remember yesterday today, while embracing tomorrow. A poem written by Helen Steiner Rice soothed my heart years ago as it does today. I hope it brings peace to your heart also.
Yesterday’s dead, tomorrow’s unborn, so there’s nothing to fear and nothing to mourn.
For all that is past and all that has been, can never return to be lived once again-
And what lies ahead or the things that will be, are still in God’s hands, so it’s not up to me
To live in the future that is God’s great unknown, for the past and the present God claims for His own.
So, all I need do is to live for today and trust God to show me the truth and the way-
For all I need live for is this one little minute, for life’s here and now and eternity’s in it.
Trusting God to show us the way gets easier when we do as King David did after his son died. He tore off his clothes of mourning, moved forward in faith, and trusted God completely to show him the way. Embracing our tomorrows comes when we get ourselves right and God makes it possible, for with God all things are possible. Our nights may be filled with tears but joy comes in the morning.
My joy came this year in a way I never prayed for or expected. My faith in God and belief in miracles has grown, as has my love for my Lord and a wonderful man named James Vann that God sent into my life as a friend, now my fiance’, and soon to be my husband. I am eager to share our love story with you very soon. The story concludes with a poem that tells how we should thank God for Everything.
Thank you God for everything- the big things and the small.
For every good gift comes from God- the giver of them all.
And all too often we accept without any thanks or praise,
The gifts God sends as blessings each day in my many ways.
And so at this Thanksgiving time we offer up a prayer
To thank you God for giving a lot more than our share…
First, thank you for the little things that often come our way,
The things we take for granted but don’t mention when we pray
The unexpected courtesy, the thoughtful, kindly deed
A hand reached out to help us in the time of sudden need.
Oh, make us more aware, dear God, of little daily graces
That come to us with sweet surprise from never-dreamed of places-
Then, thank You for the miracles we are much too blind to see,
And give us new awareness of our many gifts from Thee.
And help us to remember that the key to life and living
Is to make each prayer a prayer of thanks
And every day Thanksgiving!
This year’s celebration will be different for many people. Let us remember God’s promise that He has plans for us to prosper, to turn the bad in our lives to good according to His purpose, to order our steps, and care for us as He does the little robins. With humble hearts let us remember the past, enjoy today, and embrace tomorrow with prayers of thanksgiving.