Discovering a distaste for turkey
Just few nights ago, everyone in our family admitted that turkey wasn’t their favorite Thanksgiving Day dish. It was a watershed moment. It was too late for adjustments this year (the turkey had been bought), but we drew a line in the sand. No more turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s just not… good.
For those of you are new to my Stack here, I’ve been blogging for a long time. I have written an annual Thanksgiving Day post since 2005. As this Thanksgiving arrived, I want to believe that life has normalized. Yet there are movements afoot, nationally and globally, which portend more drama and uncertainty ahead.
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It’s more important than ever to reach deep and anchor your soul in gratitude. Gratitude is intimately connected with humility. Perhaps that’s why genuine thanksgiving seems to be in such short supply in our culture. We may eat a “Thanksgiving meal” (with or without turkey), but this designated Thursday of national gratitude can pass quicker than your digested meal without the actual giving of thanks.
Who do we thank?
Maybe we have a hard time shifting into gratitude because it requires us to recognize Someone? When we give thanks, we must give thanks to someone. For me, I primarily direct my thanks to God. I earnestly feel and sense and see His constant goodness and gracious presence. It’s also important to thank people in our lives.
Here’s 5 things I’m deeply thankful for this year:
I’m thankful for my family.
From Carolyn’s shaved ice food truck to her orchestrating a major home remodeling project this fall, to
I’m thankful that our church was the recipient of a very generous gift that enabled us to purchase and install our outdoor playground for our children’s ministry this year. Toward the end of the year, due to God’s continued gracious provision and our members’ giving, we were able to find and purchase the indoor playground as well - all ahead of schedule!
I’m thankful that Carolyn and I had the joy of being adult guests at a YoungLife camp in Rockbridge, VA this summer as Sam and Sidney served there. It was humbling, relaxing and inspiring to see high school students from all over simply… playing. (They had to check in their phones!) The laughter and joy and innocence that reverberated from that lush green valley during the week was salve for pandemic-weary souls. Knowing that they were all steadily learning about the person and power of Jesus all week long made the experience all the sweeter.
I’m thankful for my parents and the grace with which they faced an an unexpected life adjustment this year. Over the summer, my parents both had fell within a week of each other, and my dad wound up in the hospital; my mom had a fractured wrist and hip. No one is “ready” for moments like that, but July brought two trips for us to Arkansas, and working with my sister and her husband, we moved my parents into a beautiful assisted living center there in Little Rock. I do not know another more capable and ambitious group of adults who were able to move them in, “reproduce” their living room, and help them get settled into a new home in so short a time. It was a blessing to help be able to serve them and set them up in a place we are all grateful for. (They especially love their new, daily Happy Hours!)
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to return to Istanbul in early November to visit with friends there. It was my first post-pandemic trip, and I had another wonderful experience. The Turkish people are so hospitable and kind. Istanbul itself is astonishing and so enjoyable. Street markets, packed sidewalks with people enjoying one another’s company, sidewalk games, and of course, the food! I had not been at this time of year before and was delighted to see old fashioned roasted chestnut stands all over the city (they’re good!).
Be thankful to Someone
In 2020’s post, I wrote:
Think about it. Write it down. Leave a comment here if you like, but the important thing for gratitude to lodge in your heart and to displace discontent is for you to tell someone what you’re grateful for. Gratitude unexpressed evaporates. Gratitude expressed grows you and prompts others to shift from the sour to the savory of life.
Then try this…. think of one person you’re grateful for. And tell someone! If you are able, tell that person. Share with others – It’s even better when you share with a person (instead of a social media post). Sit down with another human and sincerely relate to them how and why you’re grateful for them.
It’s a good reminder to myself again this year. Tell others why you’re thankful for them. There are people in your life who see you, who “get” you, who believe in you. Thank them today.
And ultimately - even if you’re out of practice, thank God. He is good. You may not see or sense His goodness due to some of the broken edges of life this year, but that doesn’t mean He is less good. It just means that your vision is veiled for a time.
Press through the brokenness and thank Him. He is faithful, and those that earnestly bow their hearts in gratitude (even in hard times) will be refreshed. You may discover new things about yourself as you embrace gratitude.
You may even discover you don’t like turkey…
Prior Thanksgiving posts
2008: Giving thanks
2010: The Thanksgiving Chair
2011: Very Thankful
2013: Thanksgiving 2013
2014: Thanksgiving past
2015: Another thankful year
2016: Choosing Thanksgiving
2018: Thankful for pardon
2020: A pandemic thanksgiving
2021: Thanksgiving smokers