I have celebrated Thanksgiving in at least seven different cities, scattered across three countries. I have treasured all of them but some definitely stand out more than others. When I lived in St. Louis, one of my residents kindly invited me to her home for Thanksgiving. She did warn me that she was inviting several of her friends, who, like herself, were passionate dog lovers. No problem, I told her. It would be a treat to meet her dogs.
No problem at all. After I arrived, there were more dogs than people crammed into her home. At first, I was quite amused, but I was about to receive the full impact of such a volatile mixture. The doorbell rang and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks bounded into the house. These magnificent animals were accustomed to having their way and a 5’ 2” young man was hardly an imposing barrier. One of the Ridgebacks leaped onto me, its full 100 pounds landing on my chest and hurtling me backward. Thankfully, there was a sofa that cushioned my fall but the inertia flipped me and the sofa over, and I was thrown into the wall. My resident was mortified as she witnessed the entire event. She rushed over to see if I was hurt. Aside from my bruised ego, I was surprisingly unscathed. We breathed a collective sigh of relief and laughed about the incident.
“Oh No!” A shriek from the kitchen shattered our revelry. We all rushed into the kitchen to find the two Ridgebacks devouring the last pieces of meat on the 25-pound turkey. We dined on salad, stuffing and sweet potatoes, all agreeing this was definitely one of the most memorable Thanksgivings we ever had, without a turkey!
In this politically correct climate, one cannot wish someone a “Merry Christmas!” without being corrected with a “Happy Holidays!” Yet few would disavow the phrase, “Happy Thanksgiving!” Every Thanksgiving is memorable because of the reason for the gathering. It is not the turkey, stuffing, and fixings, it is not the college football bowl games, it is a time to be thankful for what we have in life. As a Christian, Thanksgiving is a reminder to me to reaffirm my gratitude to God’s grace and mercy in my life.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:4-5 (ESV)
The dogs added an unexpected twist to our Thanksgiving and I have never forgotten the dinner! Most importantly, I will always remember the kindness of my dermatology resident to invite a homesick young man, thousands of miles away from home, to share in a celebration of thankfulness of life. God created everything. Whatever He gives me in this life, I should receive it with thanksgiving, for this is His will for me.
Shouldn’t we be celebrating Thanksgiving every day?
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.