Give thanks in all circumstances .... —1 Thessalonians 5:18 (niv)
For years, our family has gathered at my brother’s house for Thanksgiving. Dexter and his wife, Billie, live in a large home in the country that easily absorbs three generations. “The more the merrier,” Billie assures us when we ask if we can bring others to share in the celebration.
This year Billie’s dad is gravely ill, Dexter and Billie are stretched at their businesses, and Billie is facing the prospect of a hip replacement. I proposed that we remove the Thanksgiving responsibility from them, but they wouldn’t hear of it. “More than ever, we need the tradition,” Billie said.
Through a flurry of e-mails among siblings and cousins, we’ve come up with ways to simplify the celebration. We’re bringing all the plates, napkins, and flowers; each family is contributing a decorative candle for the table; and we’ll set the tables when we arrive, with the help of seventeen grandchildren.
When the feast is ready, we’ll circle the buffet to bless the food, fill our plates, and find our places around the table. Then Dexter will stand and begin what I call our “popcorn praises.” He’ll describe something he’s thankful for and then name someone to stand next and do the same. Randomly, we’ll all have our chance; most of our popcorn praises grow out of the challenges each of us has faced. Those shared thanks fill our hungry souls, and more than ever, we all need that tradition this year.
Written by Carol Kuykendall