Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving Language

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We had an near-embarrassing amount of food for twenty-three people at our Thanksgiving meal :

  • 1 1/2 turkey
  • dressing
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • 3 dozen rolls and homemade jams
  • squash soup
  • corn casserole
  • sweet potatoes
  • green bean casserole
  • baked beans
  • cottage cheese
  • cranberry sauce
  • fruit salad
  • freezer coleslaw
  • 4 pumpkin pies
  • chocolate cake
  • sandwich cookies cheesecake
  • apple crisp
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                Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell 1943

My husband’s family traditionally encourages the youngest to offer the prayer before the meal at our large gatherings, and so our five-year-old grandson prompted us to hold hands, and then he led us in a version of the prayer that many learned as children:

God is great. God is good, and we thank Him for our food.

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(Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner in the home of Earle Landis in Neffsville, Pennsylvania 1942)

Putting the leftovers away in the refrigerator was like solving a 3-D puzzle. I balanced the pumpkin pie on the leftover turkey container. Our spatial relationship thinking was challenged as we sought the right size containers for potatoes and gravy. Cars became make-shift  refrigerators for casseroles that wouldn’t fit in the kitchen refrigerator.

We feasted at our Thanksgiving meal, and such abundance is a metaphor for the spiritual feast God has set before us. Our cup isn’t just full; it overflows (Psalm 23). Whether we go through seasons of ease and physical abundance or times of grief and trial, God’s character has not changed. He is still a good, kind, and loving Father.

For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we really are God’s children.   Romans 8:16  TLB

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!   1 John 3:1   NIV

God speaks to us in the language of love, for He is love (1 John 4:8). Christine Laennec, a fellow blogger, writes of a plaque on a park bench in Glasgow that reads “Express Love Clearly.” Our heavenly Father speaks love to us clearly, in ways that we will understand.

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  Luke 6:45   NIV

As a writer I especially appreciate the imagery of a written banner over the guest of honor at a banquet.

He brought me to the banqueting house,
    and his banner over me was love. SoS 2:4   RSV

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How then do we respond to the feast of food, a feast of love?

We thank God for our physical blessings, yes, but health comes and goes. Our loved ones may not be with us next November. No job is guaranteed. No house is indestructible. No car is unbreakable. No peace in this world is permanent.

We thank God for the imperishable, incorruptible, and immutable. God’s character doesn’t change.

God is great. God is good, and we thank Him . . .

The special variety of God’s language that we speak (which is derived from His original Love Language) is giving thanks. We recognize who God is,  and we are grateful.

Thanksgiving is our dialect.   Ephesians 5:4   MSG

 

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I found this version of our mealtime blessing to be sung to the tune of  “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”:

God is great and God is good.
And we thank him for our food.

By his hands we all are fed.
Thank you, Lord, for our daily bread.
God is great and God is good,
And we thank him for our food.

Amen, which means “so be it.”

Totaled or Lessons from a 91 Buick

How do you determine the value of a car? I checked websites and was prompted to answer questions like these:

  • How old is the vehicle?
  • Who is the manufacturer?
  • What model?
  • What engine?
  • How many miles?
  • What condition is it in?  and even
  • What color?

I wanted to calculate the monetary value of our old Buick, the car my dad saved up to buy many years ago and later gifted to us, the car my son drove to school and work, the car that was in an accident a few weeks ago.

The insurance company has calculated the car’s value and estimated the cost to repair. Just by looking, without careful computation of the old Buick’s worth, we all reached the same conclusion: it’s totaled. The cost to repair exceeds the value of the vehicle. The old Buick will be towed to a salvage yard, where its only worth is now is in the sale of salvageable parts or as scrap metal.

What is the value of an old car? Compared to the safety of my son and his passenger–not much. When I first got the call about the accident, I didn’t care about the condition of the vehicle. I wanted to know that the people in the car were all right.

Look at the birds of the air; . . . Are you not much more valuable than they?   Matthew 6:26   NIV

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How do you determine the value of a person? If we examine ourselves, do we  see missing headlights, rusted fenders, and cracked windshields? Are there too many miles on the odometer?

Whether we are damaged from accidents or the effects of aging in the elements, we may feel we’re only fit for the junkyard. We may think we’re totaled.

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But when Jesus looks at us, He sees us at our showroom best. He sees what we could be–what we were meant to be from the beginning. We are a priceless car, one so valuable that it is worth any amount to restore. Our cost to repair never exceeds our value.

 

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Restore us, O God;
    make your face shine on us,
        that we may be saved.   Psalm 80:3   NIV

We are worth the hours and years and even a lifetime of work required to restore us. We are worth all the effort and pain poured out to save us from the junkyard.

Jesus’ love is what makes us valuable.

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Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.   Luke 19:9,10   MSG

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And someday, when the final repair is done and the last bit of chrome is polished, we’ll be ready for the wedding feast!

Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!   Revelation 19:9   NIV

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photos of 1931 Model A Ford Roadster by Barb Briggs

This Crazy Life

Let’s pretend for a moment that the mailman pulled into my drive a few weeks ago, knocked on my door, and handed me a “Special Delivery” box. Imagine that this was no ordinary parcel–it contained snapshots of the events of my near future. I might have opened it and seen pictures of the hard and painful events in my life and in the lives of my extended family, and I would have been tempted to reject it.

Mr. Mailman? Would you come back, please, and take this box away? It’s too hard. It doesn’t make sense.

I might have said, “No, thank you.”

“No” to the traffic accident,

“No” to the pile of time-consuming paperwork,

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“No” to two scheduled ear surgeries,

“No” to the stomach “bug” that set up camp in my house,

and “No” to the respiratory virus on its coattails,

“No” to the sudden trip to the hospital with appendicitis,

“No” to the annoying loss of internet service,

“No” to the vexing mechanical issues,

“No” to the shared heartaches and the sudden tears.

I would have said “no” to the painful, the scary, and the just-plain irritating parts of life.

But I’m glad God is God, and I am not,

because if I hadn’t continued to unpack the special delivery box, I wouldn’t have discovered the box seemed to be bottomless, like the widow’s jar of olive oil.  Every snapshot of God’s grace would have another one beneath it. The more I looked, the more I found.

I would have missed out on the satisfying “Yes, thank you” to the unending examples of God’s loving kindness.

“Yes” to the sunshine and shadow of my life,

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“Yes” to the answered prayers for my family,

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“Yes” to the completed harvest,

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“Yes” to the marvelous skills of medical professionals,

“Yes” to the opportunities to reflect,

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“Yes” to glories underfoot and overhead,

“Yes” to my surprising, unbelievable, crazy life.

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I will say “Yes” to God and to the whole bittersweet box of my future. I’m glad I don’t know what my future holds.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.   Matthew 6:34   MSG

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Hallelujah!
You who serve God, praise God!
    Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
    now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
    keep lifting all your praises to God!

Psalm 113:1-3   MSG

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Thanks to Kris for inspiring the theme and title.

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