At last, the sun is peeking through the clouds.
For the past few days we’ve had cold, rainy weather, reminding us of the changing season. We pulled out rain boots, winter jackets and toques so the kids would be warm enough at recess, and the memory of strong summer sunshine began to fade. Until today. The skies have begun to clear and the promise of a warm late summer day seems possible, if not probable. The beauty of the brilliant light is streaming in the large front window, illuminating the crowd of little people toys lined up on the coffee table.
Doesn’t take much to forget, does it?
That’s the thing about the daily grind of life. It tends to cloud our view and we exist under its pall, moving from one moment to the next, getting the to-do list done and just trying to get through the busy day before us.
About seven years ago, I grew tired at how I was always surprised by the sudden arrival of Thanksgiving. When it breezes in on the second weekend of October, it really feels like the worst possible time! The school year is in full swing, we’re neck-deep in navigating our new schedule and cold and flu season is making its grand entrance.
Suddenly, it was time to pause and be thankful over a meal with family and friends. It was a welcome break from the crazy, but I began to wonder: can there be more to this than sweet potato casserole and slices of perfect turkey?
I wanted to create something hands-on for our family to engage in before Turkey Sunday to help us connect the concept of thanksgiving to our real lives. Burlap and twine went up on the wall in the living room and I carefully cut out some paper leaves. Sitting at the table with my young children, we thought of things we were thankful for. As we wrote them on the leaves, we thanked the Lord for each one, and then carefully hung the leaves on our Thanksgiving Tree.
I’ve kept all those old leaves, and every year they go on the tree. We always make more by tracing our handprints on red, yellow, orange and brown construction paper, filling them in with things we are thankful for now, in this season of our life together.
Our tree is full – along with our hearts.
It has become the sunshine that peeks through the clouds of our routine, reminding us that we have a great God who is faithful in all things and everything we have and are is because of Him.
It’s easy to forget what we really have right in front of us, and even more than that, the One who sustains us with His grace and love. My hope is that as we enter into the Thanksgiving season, we’ll move beyond a pre-meal prayer of “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for this food” into a heart full of gratitude for who He is!
If you’re looking for a way to make Thanksgiving more than turkey and stuffing this year, join me for a short weekly blog series called Three Weeks of Thanks (#3WeeksofThanks) on Thursdays, starting September 19th.