Everyone has a favorite holiday. Mine is Christmas. I love everything about it! The shopping, the wrapping, the decorating and most of all the special nightly Advent devotions that focus me on the real reason we celebrate. But, for my daughter… it is Thanksgiving. She loves Thanksgiving because of the FOOD!
My mother-in-law was a gourmet cook. When she entertained, the table looked magnificent, better than Martha Stewart’s and the food rivaled Julia Child. But, my sweet husband did not check into my culinary pedigree when he proposed to me and he has persevered with my lack for 44 years. Though my culinary skills did improve, they always paled in comparison to his family’s skill.
But, my daughter inherited the family foodie gene! She can sniff out, taste all the different spices in a dish and replicate a vegetarian version. Amazing! Her grandmother would be so proud! So, even though she lives overseas now, she will invite her friends for a vegetarian American Thanksgiving feast replete with some of their favorite dishes. It is fun to see the photos and the explanations of the different dishes.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This Thanksgiving will be very different for all of us, but despite the weirdness, I want to be thankful for all that the Lord has provided and done this year. He has brought me from housing and food insecurity to security in a way that only He could have done. I have never had a lack for anything that was needed and He has kept me healthy and safe. So, while I have a long list of things about which I am thankful, the most important thing for which I am thankful is THE FOOD.
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh. John 6:48-51
Growing up my family lived with my beloved Nana and when she passed away, I was devastated. Though we were faithful church attenders, no one could answer with any certainty where Nana went. Was she in heaven? Purgatory? I could not believe she would be in hell, not my beloved Nana. The Lord saw that broken hearted little 7 year old girl and heard her cries.
Fast forward several years and now I am a nursing student in a hospital based diploma program. This three year program consisted of not only classroom instruction, but on the job training of that knowledge which was a perfect fit for me. Part of the program was that we rotated all three shifts and worked weekends which helped staff the teaching institution and gave us a ridiculously low tuition.
As our meals were provided by the hospital cafeteria, we were beholden to whatever they served. On Sundays, every.single.Sunday, they served only dry broiled chicken for lunch and dinner. Needless to say, this got old very quickly! So, when a fellow student invited me to a church pot luck, I jumped at the chance for real FOOD! And it was good!
While the food was wonderful, I got to hear the parts of the Lord’s story that had not been communicated in my church growing up. I could indeed know my eternity and it did not rest on the things I did or did not do. It rested on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for my sin. Nothing I could do would gain me entry into eternity with Him, except my acknowledgement of my sin and my request for His forgiveness and to desire to live my life according to His words.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Lord heard and answered the cries of that broken hearted little seven year old girl through FOOD! And He answered with His perfect FOOD, Jesus the Bread of Life!
So, this Thanksgiving for what are you most thankful?
Your fellow traveler on the Jesus journey,