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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
'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.

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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.”

Thankful 30: Day 30–1952 Truck

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 30:  I’m thankful for a 1952 pickup truck.

2008 07 04 4th July parade 2

My father bought the blue International in 1953 and owned it until the year before he died.  In 1959 he drove the pickup a thousand miles, over mountain roads in the winter to move our family back to his hometown.  We squeezed into the cab–my parents, me (a preschooler), and my brother (barely a year old)–and packed all our belongings in the back of the truck.  My father had built a carrier/bed that attached above the seat by the back window of the cab, where my brother could sleep.  (This was before the days of seat belts or car seats for children.)

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I asked my father why they moved back to his hometown.  He said that they thought the schools would be better here in the Midwest.  Parents will do a lot, sacrifice a lot for their children.

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The International continued to be a work horse over the years.  Dad loaded bags of livestock feed,  carried carpentry tools, and hauled lumber in the bed of the truck.  It survived ice storms and hail, mud roads, and a collision with a steer.  One summer the back was enclosed and became a “camper” for overnight fishing trips.

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Many people in our small Midwest town recognized Dad’s blue truck, even if they didn’t know my father.  When he retired, he continued working as a carpenter and handyman around town.  The passenger seat and floor were mounded with tools, and the truck bed rattled with lumber and saw horses.  People would tell me, “I see your dad’s working on Mrs. Smith’s house–saw the truck there.”

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My father drove the truck less and less as he took fewer carpentry jobs, but he delighted in washing and decorating the International for 4th of July parades.

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When driving was no longer a safe option for my father, the truck was parked one last time.  He gave the truck to my brother the year before he died.

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Last night we loaded (pushed, pulled, and pleaded) the blue International onto a car trailer.  My brother, the baby who rode 1000 miles in the cab of the truck (and is now married and the father of teenagers) will take the truck one final 500 mile trip to his home, where it will be stored and repaired.

My father was happiest when he was working, building or repairing. The International was his companion for the many decades of his working life.  Dad would be pleased to know the truck will be restored.

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.   Hebrews 13:16   The Message.

I imagine the next verse refers to relationships rather than carpentry, but I think that Jesus might have a tender heart toward carpenters who keep things in repair.

And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.   2 Corinthians 13:11,12   The Message

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See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Thankful 30: Day 29–Readers

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 29:  I’m thankful for you readers who visit this blog.

I appreciate your kind and encouraging words.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

I Thessalonians 5:11

For those of you who have enjoyed and commented on the photos of sunrise and sunset, this is how the morning and evening sky was painted today.

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Skies are blazing with his splendor,
his praises sounding through the earth,   Habakkuk 3:3

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See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 28–Family

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 28:  I’m thankful for family.

Tie up, slip on, and velcro-fastened,

black and white, lavender, little blue heels,

long feet, narrow ones, tiny toddler toes

This Thanksgiving day my house is blessed with family

and their beautiful feet that brought them to my door.

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!   Isaiah 52:7

I am grateful for people to love and people who love me–family.

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

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