Well, did you have a chance to get a copy of “The Light and the Glory” after reading last week’s mini-review? I hope so! I’m learning so much from it, being reminded of our nation’s true heritage, and am being challenged in my own life.
I’m sure those of you who honor the Thanksgiving holiday in true form with moments of giving thanks are looking forward to sharing what God has done for you in the past year or how He has ministered to you. An attitude of gratitude is indeed a beautiful thing.
In your reflection over the last year, don’t forget about the moments when you have been squeezed tightly. What “juices” have oozed from you in those moments? I hope they have been precious ointment and a lovely fragrance (like Glenda wrote about last week). I wish I could say that’s always the case for me. Even if I thought I could get by and say it is the case...my kiddos could tell you it didn’t always go that way.
Let’s consider those Pilgrims of the Mayflower. No doubt, most of us remember that the 102 Pilgrims were in pretty cramped quarters while trekking through the Atlantic for a new home. As Marshall & Manuel describe it:
“ [they] huddled in the lantern-lit darkness of the low-ceilinged ‘tween-decks’ women and small children allowed to have the captain’s cabin; no hatches open because of continuous storms; all non-essential personnel required to stay below decks; the constant crying of small children; no chance to cook any meals.”
All this for seven weeks, people! It’s almost as if they were sailing in a huge coffin. Just reading this alone almost makes my skin crawl and feel a little claustrophobic! No doubt hidden, buried sins were coming up to the surface and had to be faced, repented of, and cleansed. Fortunately, these travelers were no foreigners to on-your-face prayer.
The most amazing thing of their trials in just getting there is the testimony that they left with the crew members...but I’m not giving that away; you’ll have to read up on that yourself. ;-)
Don’t you wonder about those families? We may elevate them to a “sainthood” status because they were Pilgrims. But, I think they were probably a lot like you and me. When squeezed really tight, their hidden ugliness came to light and had to be dealt with in all humility. Can you think back on those times when you and children faced a storm together? Perhaps you did react in a way you didn’t want your kids to learn to repeat. Did you use it as an opportunity to learn together? In the end, did you see evidence of the impact your testimony had to those surrounding you? The world is looking for examples of God in families thriving together. Don’t forget to celebrate making it through a storm in the last year as you share your victories over the Thanksgiving holiday!
This leads me to share a family tradition in our household. Although we all intend to have a heart of gratitude, the business of the day or the awkwardness of family openness (or lack thereof) often prohibits actually sharing things together. About 3 years ago, I came across the idea somewhere to write out your thankfulness on a tablecloth to be reused each year. It’s been wonderful to see our family expand (seriously...in 3 years we’ve had 2 marriages and 5 children to increase the brood) and to see the progression of thanks. It’s a nice way to preserve those memories.