Happy Thanksgiving! After one of the longest years in memory, the holiday season is finally upon us. Every time I sat down to write for much of this year, I felt compelled to begin with something like, “This has been such a time of uncertainty,” or, “Surely things will be settling back to normal soon.” Then I have been continually surprised by how many surprises this year has contained! More than ever, I am looking forward to our annual Thanksgiving feast - a day where we can gather together to thank God for His goodness and to enjoy a wonderful time of good food and great relationships.
My brother-in-law is smoking a turkey, and he has spent much of this Covid year honing his excellent meat-smoking skills. My mother is bringing that delicious ham she makes and her chocolate-pecan pie that all of us spend all year dreaming about. No one can make cornbread dressing and dirty rice like my mother-in-law, and the rest of us will be supplying all of the other delicous things we love to eat - cheese trays, sweet potatoes, green beans, salads of every kind, breads, pies, cookies…what a wonderful day we will have!
Not only do we have a great feast to look forward to, but also such a wonderful time of fellowship together. It is always so much fun to linger for hours and hours, laughing and telling stories old and new, just enjoying each other. Our branch of the family has added a new son-in-law and a new baby granddaughter to our ranks since last year, and what a joy it is to see our family grow. God has seen so many of us through illness and difficult circumstances this year, and He has been so faithful.
We truly have so much to be thankful for. Our faith sustains us in good times and bad. As Christians, we believe that God is good and loving. We believe that He is never out of control or suprised by world events. We believe that this life is not the end of everything; those who trust in Christ will spend eternity with Him in an unbroken and beautiful place. We believe and experience the truth that even in the midst of life’s chaos and storms, God is with us and brings hope, peace and love.
With every day that passes, it is becoming more clear what is real and trustworthy and what is not - especially this year with a pandemic swirling, political drama boiling, and uncertainty looming. The false idea that families or nations or anything at all can be built on a foundation of nothing is being shattered. Thank God!
We can look around and see how confusing it must be to not have such a firm foundation to stand upon. How terrifying the thought of a pandemic would be if you believed that this life is all there is to reality. How confusing world events would be if you believed that men and women alone were in control with no outside intervention. How depressing life would be if you thought it was impossible ever to see real justice.
Everyone around us is so hungry for truth and hope. People are desperate to know whether their life matters or has a purpose, and furious to think that life might be meaningless and irrepairably broken. Kids are starving for attention and loving care. Men and women of all ages wonder if there is anything at all that can satisfy their tremendous hunger.
How beautiful it is that Jesus tells a story of a great banquet that has been prepared...
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”
Most of the time this whole passage from Matthew chapter 22 is cited to focus on the many excuses that people make to not come to the banquet. This is certainly important, and we should be aware of those things creeping up in our own hearts.
But today I am stirred by how lovely it is to know that the King of Kings recognizes a hunger and longing in every soul, and that He painstakingly prepared a great feast for everyone who will come to honor His Son!
Many of us have been thinking of our own Thanksgiving feasts for some time now. There is so much work to be done in advance to make it perfect - careful shopping for just the right ingredients, thoughtful planning for the most beautiful place settings and decorations, seating charts, dietary restrictions of some guests, preferences of others, and the perfect music for the playlist. Those are just a few of the decisions and preparations to be made - and we haven't even started cooking or setting the table yet!
What a beautiful thought that the Maker of Heaven and Earth would take such care to see the weary and famished guests at His table so lavishly fed and filled. Jesus told us that this is what walking with God in His Kingdom is like - sitting down at the most sumptuous and satisfying meal, one that fills every hunger and desire. And it is a time of rich and satisfying fellowship with one another as we gather in honor of the King's wonderful Son. The very best of our celebrations we can put together here and now are just a glimpse of how good and satisfying it is to enter into God's Kingdom - where the feasting and fellowship never ends.
May the Lord bless and keep you, your family, and those you love this Thanksgiving. May the joy and hope of our great God fill your hearts and home as you gather together, and may the ones among you who still hunger for God be filled. I pray that as the smells of so many delicious things fill your home, that the aroma of Christ in you will lead those around you to life and peace.
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)