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Thanksgiving Language


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
'Freedom_From_Want'_-_NARA_-_513539 rockwell.jpg

                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.


(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.”

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