Remember when Thanksgiving meant getting two days off from school, getting to spend the whole day eating pie on the front porch at Memaw’s house and playing tag with your cousins? Remember when it meant too many relatives crowding into a too-small living room to say the prayer, and wondering who was going to volunteer to go first in the serving line, and worrying that the Chinette plate might not hold that one last scoop of dressing?
Yeah, me too. Those were the days. Those grade-school memories will warm my heart for as long as I live. I didn’t have to cook anything or clean anything. All I had to do was show up and soak in the love I didn’t even know was there in abundance.
Things are different this year. Our family Thanksgiving has shrunk. Instead of fifty people in a room, we’ll have just a few. So few, as a matter of fact, that we’ll all sit around one table. Many of the people I love most won’t be there. My cousins are grown and have families of their own. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents have gone on to glory. Even Dad has joined them.
But in spite of the changes, I still have much to be thankful for. Gosh, when I think of it, I’m overwhelmed. I have a husband who adores me, a mother who’s still here to give me advice, and children who fill my heart with joy. I have a beautiful home, a job I love, and enough money to pay my bills.
And I have love. So much love.
When I was a kid, I received love. It was poured out on me, and I didn’t even know enough to realize how blessed I was. But now I’m even more blessed, because now I know. I know how special it is to have what I have. And I know that pouring love out on others is even better than having that love poured out on you.
So this year, as I look around the table at the people who make up my family, I’ve decided not to concentrate nearly as much on the things I’m thankful for as on the people I’m thankful for. And I’m going to try and accept them so much and care for them so well that they’ll soak in every blessing I can give them. My prayer is that they’ll just absorb it, that it will be such a natural part of the way we interact that they won’t even know enough to be thankful for it, until one day, far in the future, they’ll realize just as I have: the best blessing of all is the blessing of being loved.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you,” John 15:12.