Ha! The commercialism didn't hook and reel me in like a wide-mouth bass this year!
I hummed happily to myself as I checked the 24 pound turkey into the oven. I glanced at my kitchen clock once again to ensure that I remained on my self-imposed schedule: 10:00 A.M. The entire family would arrive at noon for what I was determined would be a Thanksgiving celebration that they would remember for years to come.
I had been busy all week in preparation for today; cleaning, cooking, planning and shopping.
Shopping! Oh how I loved shopping during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. The fabulous decorations, the cheerful colors, the wonderful aroma of coffee and scented candles as I roamed from store to store. It was better than a piece of fine chocolate. I was addicted with a capital A, but this year I resisted.
I glanced around my home proudly. Not one Christmas decoration was yet in sight. Instead of succumbing to the marketing media myself this year, I had gone to extreme detail to flood my families senses with my own media mirage of all the things that I was thankful for.
Printed newspaper clippings of family moments had been carefully photocopied onto the cloth napkins that adorned each place setting. Old family photos were strategically placed about the house to serve as conversation starters, sure to bring about both laughter and tears. Video clips were prepared to run as a slide show in the family room and an old CD of a gospel quartet that my brother sang with years ago sat waiting in the CD player.
I finished wiping down the counter and pulled the large tray of dressing from the refrigerator. It was my grandmother's recipe handed down from generation to generation. Grandma wouldn't be with us in body this year, but she was with us in spirit. Making the dressing this year was the best way that I knew to honor her. I loved her and missed her, but today was still a happy one. I could feel her looking down from heaven and smiling in approval.
My husband James walked into the kitchen just as the doorbell rang. As he answered the door, I hurriedly lit the set of pumpkin and nutmeg scented candles and started the CD. Family filtered into the house with hugs and kisses and expressions about the photos and music.
Almost an hour later we gathered at the large dining room table as Dad prepared to say the blessing. To my surprise, he pulled an old worn out piece of folded paper from his pocket.
"Sweetheart," he smiled. " I'll bet that no one here thinks this day can get any better. Your house is beautiful. We are surrounded by the warmth of the people and memories which are nearest and dearest to our hearts. We have so much to thank God for, but this poem from a precious nine-year old girl is going to put the icing on the cake."
Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday,
yet it brings tidings of good cheer
A time to count our blessings,
and hold close to us those who are dear
We thank you God for peace from above,
for the warming embrace of our families' love
We thank you for health, for wisdom and friends
We thank you that Your love for us has no end
As we gather this day in gratitude,
remind us to be thankful the whole year through
My mother's eyes brimmed with tears as Dad finished reading my fourth grade poem. Even at nine years old I knew that God calls us to stop and be thankful. Stop and be thankful.
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