We aren't skipping over Thanksgiving. Oh no, au contraire!
We are beginning the entire Season with it.
The countdown has been on for about 3 weeks. Trees are up and twinkling with lights. The one in the front window has all the ornaments collected from Christmases past and foreign lands. The big Nativity is on the piano. The puzzle is on the coffee table. (A few pieces are being chewed by Roxy, but it's mostly intact and everybody is cool with chewed-up pieces). Chicken and cornbread dressing is melding the flavors in MaMaw Smith's dressing pan, the sweet tea is piling up in the carafe, and Kim's pumpkin pie is due through the door any second.
A deep Southern Thanksgiving meal is close to the finish line and even hearts walking through present sorrow can't help but smile with anticipation.
Cars are pulling up and parking in the grass and foil-covered dishes are walking up the driveway. Get out of the ham, stop sneaking pieces of the turkey, we'll be ready in just a minute, stay out of that bowl, get out of here, I can't get a thing done with you under my feet, get in here right now, everybody gather in the den...I'm thankful for...what I'm most thankful for...this year, I want to thank God for...even though...I'm--I'll be able to say it in a second--I--I just am so thankful...He's been so good to me...I wouldn't want to be anywhere else...I don't deserve...I wouldn't trade it for anything...
...and so, dear Lord, we come before you now to give you thanks for this year. Thank you for the beauty and the pain, the joy and the sorrow, the bounty and the want. We have had our share of gray, but you have even been in the gray. Bless this house and these people and all who have gathered here with us this day...bless this food and the hands that prepared it...go with us now as we celebrate your coming to us...we give you thanks...
"Enter into His gates [His season, His birthday celebration, the time of joyful feasting] with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."