Thanksgiving this year felt very different. There was an undeniable, underlying sadness as we had just attended my Mimi's funeral at the beginning of the week. Growing up with her in such close proximity, I actually got to spend many a Thanksgiving with her throughout the past 29 years. I won't soon forget her pickle/olive trays (typically put the black olives on the ends of my fingers and would eat them off my hand) and how I would always eat the marshmallows off the top of her sweet potato casserole. But she was not at our table this year (nor was her pickle tray, I might add).
Since we weren't planning on eating our family meal until dinner, at the dawn of Thanksgiving morn (or maybe like 11 AM), I took advantage of some free time and headed to a nearby spot to spend some time outside and to reflect and ponder the current state of my heart.
You see, I had spent a good bit of time over the past few days wallowing in self pity, disappointed my original plans for Thanksgiving didn't pan out and that I wasn't doing exactly (to the 'T') what I wanted to do. If you don't see a theme here, I shall help by spelling it out for you: it was M-E, me, me. I was so focused on my happiness and making everything perfect for myself that I was failing to acknowledge Christ, His hand on my life, the gift of His son and the fact that I am not in control (which is, time and time again, a huge shock to me). Instead of abiding in Him and He in me, I was preferring the company of me, myself and I: pity party, table for 3. Problem is, this party isn't really all that fun. In fact, it's downright lame and lonely. As I meditated on these thoughts, I slowly began to appreciate exactly where I was and the unexpected surprise of discovering a beautiful bell tower, chapel and scripture-etched stone. I was able to see the beauty of Christ because I took my eyes (and all my focus) of of myself. He was there, waiting for me and He is faithful. (Psalm 16:11)
After my soul was fed, it was time to focus on feeding my physical body so I had to get to work on prepping the turkey and all the trimmings for our Thanksgiving feast. This was the first occasion I had actual fennel for my infamous stuffing, so as you might imagine, a photo opp with this curious specimen was a must.
While the turkeys were a-roastin', we found some time to sip on a nice bottle or red, capture some prime Kodak moments and play with the two loves of my life.
After the brief diversion, it was full steam ahead and I was a girl on a mission, focused with my eye on the prize. I had 2 pans going on the stove, dishes in the oven, turkeys going in shifts. It was pure mayhem and our timeline might have been pushed ~3 hours back from the original goal. However, I think these couple of snapshots show that nothing came from a can or a box. It was blood, sweat and tears (with maybe some rosemary and thyme thrown in as well).
When we finally sat down to eat (I believe at that point it was close to 8:00 PM), it was well worth every frustrating minute. There were two turkeys, two types of homemade cranberry sauce, herbed carrots, sourdough stuffing (w/pear, fennel and pancetta), roasted green beans w/goat cheese, corn pudding and sweet potato casserole.
Despite the mishaps, the botched timeline and the lingering sadness, when it was all said and done, we enjoyed a bountiful feast and were in the company of family. Not only was I so aware that we have been given earthly blessings that point to God's goodness, but each of us has been given the gift of salvation in Christ which is the eternal hope of our lives. No disappointment, temporal circumstance, failed plan or pity party can outweigh the overwhelming joy that is Christ's redemption. It is His promise that we are grateful for.
"For He rescued us out of the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, where there is redemption and the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14