Thanksgiving is a time of quiet reflection upon the past and an annual reminder that God has, again, been ever so faithful. The solid and simple things of life are brought into clear focus, so much so that everything else fades into insignificance. – Charles Swindoll
Thanksgiving continues to be my favorite holiday. It is one of the few institutions left that hasn’t been hijacked by wacky groups who seem to be against most everything Americans have held dear for the past 300 years.
No glitz. No hype. No mad dashes to the mall and annoying traffic lines that move at a snail’s pace through city thoroughfares. Neither does the UPS truck beat a path to my door for days before, piling up box on top of box, all requiring yards and yards of wrapping paper, tape, and a huge chunk of time.
Despite the food, the family conversation, and the abundance of football, Thanksgiving just “feels” quiet. It does not feel frantic. And that may be my favorite part.
It was 1974 when I realized Thanksgiving was far and away my favorite. I was 23 years old, expecting my first child, and lingering over the vestiges of a Thanksgiving feast at my mother’s dining room table with the rest of the family. What is it about the sights and smells of a particular occasion that sear themselves in your mind in such a way that every detailremains sharp and real and very much with you despite the passage of time? It was just that way—a moment of clarity in that very ordinary moment. I had enjoyed every Thanksgiving of my life in that same spot with these same people, eating from Mama’s Haviland wedding china, and drinking from the thin etched Rose Point goblets reserved for such occasions. But that particular day, I realized such times were not going to go on in the same way forever, that one day there would be empty chairs, absent loved ones, but there would be new faces, too. It was as though the Holy Spirit nudged me gently and said, “Pay attention.You are going to cherish this day.” And I did and I have all these 40 (eek!) years later.
In the middle of giving thanks for my life at this season, when I thank Him for Charles, my children, “bonus” children, and a menagerie of 12 of “his,” “mine,” and “ours” grandchildren, I still thank God for that particular Thanksgiving day in 1974—and for being made aware as I never had been before how fragile and fleeting and precious this earthly life is. Blessed. That’s the only word for it. Despite the disappointments and unfulfilled dreams that are just part of life on planet earth, I have been oh so blessed in my journey. And I am just supposing, that when you stop and remember, you probably feel the very same way about your own story.
There is a bit of soul restoration that occurs when we pause to count our blessings, to intentionally reflect on God’s faithfulness and to say, “Thank you.” Because the truth is this: He meets us at the point of our need and is always faithful to either completely reorder the circumstances or to supply the strength, the comfort, and the wisdom to walk the path before us.
I love this issue. As I was driving home from our interview and photo shoot with the Tylers, I was thinking back on our last few cover stories. We have had some dramatic stories to recount— some very heavy. The Tylers are so not dramatic. They are more like the families of the popular 1950s sitcoms—the Cleavers, the Andersons, and the Nelsons. Not that Denise Tyler vacuums the floors in her pearls and shirtwaist dresses, but the wholesomeness and the genuine affection this family shares are for me an affirmation that in the midst of our post-Christian culture, it is still possible to honor God, to cherish the things He loves, and to live in the world without being sabotaged by it.
We have tried to pack a lot in these pages—even though they say you can’t please everybody, we always like to try! Happy Thanksgiving!
Marilyn H. Tinnin, Publisher and Editor marilyn@MSChristianliving.com