Thanksgiving week six years ago I had GabeTheDrummer with me after an orchestra practice where we were getting ready for our Christmas concert. He chatted excitedly all the way home while beating the seat with his drum sticks showing me patterns he wanted to use in one of the songs, I, being a little tired and very hungry, was not quite as enthusiastic. When we got out of the van Gabe bubbled, “Oh I am so excited about Thanksgiving! I am going to get up and watch the parade and we are going to have so much fun!”As I listened to him I was transported in time to when I was his age, eleven. We looked forward to being at “little Mama’s” house for Thanksgiving Holiday, and a houseful it was! Besides us, Daddy, Mother, my brother, sister, and me, there were my Uncle, his wife and family, three daughters, my two aunts with their husbands and three sons between them, plus an unmarried uncle and aunt that were already there with Mama and Daddy (my granddad), a house full! As we entered through the kitchen there was Mama already cooking, dishes and groceries all over the kitchen waiting for one of the other “girls” to put together. By the time everyone gathered around the tables we were all starving and the food smelled incredible to my young appetite. I loved that Mama always had the little red pickled crab apples, and made wonderful cakes. Her green beans were cooked all day with a ham hock and a bottle of Coke, yams, mashed potatoes, a variety of other dishes and the ever-present ambrosia! Thinking back on those days I know that my grandmother, my mother and my aunts were not brimming with all the energy that we were, but they never failed to do all the wonderful things it took to make our Holiday special. With dinner finished everyone sat around and laughed and talked about funny things that had happened to them when they were the young people, then ultimately we always ended up hearing stories of prayers that were answered, miracles God had done for the family, then the singing started. The songs would be lively at first and then settle into some of the old hymns that invariably brought tears, first to Mama then spreading around the room until finally Little Daddy would say “Alright children, let’s pray”. These prayers were long, each child was named and everything he could think of to be grateful for and then ending with the same thing, every time, “God send a world wide revival before the last day so that more people might be brought into Your great Kingdom.”I have always waited to see that prayer answered, now I’m not sure whether it will be, or not, it really is what we need though, isn’t it? I want to make a special memory for my grandchildren the way my indefatigable grandmother and mother did for me. Back to the reality of Gabe talking about Thanksgiving I heard him asking what time the big parade came on and did I plan to watch it with him! I assured him that I was as excited as he was to watch the parade while cooking dinner and as I said it I realized that I was feeling a little of that old holiday excitement within my own chest.
My parents are gone but I will have my family around me and I will thank God for what I have and quote my favorite Thanksgiving Psalm, Psalm 100:1-4 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.