O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! ~ Psalms 34:8, NASB.
A few days ago, we celebrated our Early American holiday of pausing to give thanks to our Creator God for all His blessings.
My preparations for its celebration began two days ahead. As I set the table and arranged flowers, I remembered the story of the Puritans. In 1621, their first Thanksgiving must have required many days of diligent work, and history tells us that they feasted for three days.
As I baked the pumpkin pie, the turkey, and the cornbread for the dressing, I was very thankful that I was born in the modern age. The Pilgrims’ “ovens” would have been a spit over a fire where their gift of deer roasted. The Wampanoag Indians, who also attended the first Thanksgiving meal, supplied the meat. Did they have roasted fowl like we do today? No one knows for certain, but it would probably not have been turkey. [As a side note, I have gained notoriety over the years as the “Turkey Lady” due to my tender, juicy meat. My technique is baking the bird a day ahead and letting it marinate overnight, chilled, in its own natural juices.]
Throughout my busy preparations, a spirit of thanksgiving wrapped around me, a hushed reverence of deep gratitude. Be thankful whispered through my soul. I humbled myself before the Lord, offering Him thanks for all His blessings this year.
The Pilgrims also bowed their hearts to God in true gratefulness for allowing them to have such abundance at their first harvest. After landing in Cape Cod in November, 1620, the survival rate that first harsh winter was only about fifty percent. Their search for a new land where they could freely worship God came at a great price, costing many lives. How disheartening it must have been for those who witnessed their family and friends buried in this New World, so far from home. If it hadn’t been for the Native Americans who taught them what to plant and how to fight the elements, they may have all died, but for the grace of God. How thankful I am to live in a country where we can still worship freely without government interference or persecution, all built upon the godly foundation laid by those brave Puritans.
Thanksgiving Day. Up early, snapping beans and crisping lettuce while enjoying the annual tradition of the Macy’s Day Parade playing in the background. Of all years, 2016 has seemed most significant, ushering in fresh hope of a bright future basted with peace and prosperity. My family, still together this year, all healthy. Be thankful. My heart bowed in reverence.
I followed the corn pudding’s recipe from Beaumont Inn and Caesar salad dressing from Chasen’s. My great-grandmother’s directions for cornbread dressing, passed down the generations, came from my memory. The potatoes bubbled in broth next to a pot of simmering green beans. Gravy gently boiled in its skillet, ready to cradle the center of garlic mashed potatoes. All the while the National Dog Show played, another annual tradition, and I eagerly anticipated the poodles.
Again, I wondered what the Pilgrims would think if they could watch us prepare our feasts in our electric and gas kitchens? Be thankful. I counted my blessings beyond health and family—my growing ministry, writing career, and dear friends. And most of all, for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour.
The time for gathering together arrived. All seated, love shining like mirrors reflected to each other on this sacred day. Like a mother hen, I reveled in having my family around my table as I offered them my finest cuisine, my labor of love. Our corporate prayer of thanks ascended to heaven.
As we progressed through three courses, we each took our turn to voice what we were most thankful for this year. I rejoiced in their shared words, so precious and sincere, and recorded them in my heart. As we passed the whipped cream for the pumpkin, cherry, and chocolate pecan pies, my soul was just as satisfied as my stomach.
May we as individuals, families, and as one nation be truly thankful for all of God’s blessings, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day through each year. So much good awaits us—individually and nationally—as we walk in humility and repentance. Let’s rejoice in that expectation and be thankful.
If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14, NASB.