“Are we thankful? Yes we are!”
Often when our very large family will go out to eat, we want to stop and pray over our meal. But the truth is, if one person were to pray loud enough for everyone in our large party to hear, the entire restaurant would be brought to a halt. Many years ago my great Aunt Faye (for whom I have my middle name) began what is now our usual custom at a restaurant. As we get our food and are preparing to eat, one person says, “are we thankful?” Then entire party responds, “yes we are.” And voila! We eat.
As we enter in to this holiday season that traditionally begins with Thanksgiving, I offer this question to us all. “Are we thankful?” and if you answer, “Yes we are”, then perhaps if we were sitting visiting with a cup of coffee, I would say, “tell me what you are thankful for”.
I am thankful that my entire family got to be together for the actual day of thanksgiving. We had 2 parents, 8 children, one son in law, 2 brothers, 2 wives of brothers. 3 children of brothers family, 2 grandsons of brother, one cat, 3 dogs and yes….a partridge in a pear tree. It was glorious chaos. Actually, there wasn’t much chaos as everyone scurried about making their assigned food for the gathering. We arranged the dining room in a U configuration so that everyone, young and old, could all sit around the tables. No kids table, no grown up table…just one big happy U shaped table(s).
As has become our custom, after eating, we went around the table and said what we are thankful for. With 22 people, and each person taking about 4 minutes to share, we had a lengthy but meaningful hour and a half of thankful words.
My brother Mike was the last one to share (we kinda had it planned that way) because he wanted to do something special for his wife. Mike, who is my younger brother by 2 years, began talking about how thankful he is for his two grandsons, Conner and Jack. He then shared how special his wife of 30 years has been to him. My brother, by his own admission, has seen some difficult seasons. He shared with all of us at the table that there was one point in his life he needed money and sold their wedding rings. This year, he gave Leanne a brand new wedding ring to symbolize their new start. Then surprising Leanne and the rest of us, he asked my dad if he would lead them in a simple renewing of their marriage vows. Sitting there at our make shift U shaped tables, we all watched as my brother Mike and my amazing sister in law, Leanne, pledged their love and commitment to each other once again—30 years after the first time.
We cried and laughed and try to take as many pictures as we could. My 5 year old nephew Caiden (son of my other brother Craig) exclaimed “they’re finally married” and we all of course chucked and giggled over his simple childlike statement.
At the close the renewing ceremony, my dad said, “well, by the authority vested in me by the state of Indiana and by the Church of God, I now pronounce you a ‘new’ husband and a ‘new’ wife”. So very precious because I think that is exactly what Mike wanted to say with this action…he is a NEW creation. A new man, a new husband, a new father, a new son, a new uncle, a new brother, a new grandpa.
Isaiah says, “behold…look out, hold on to your short”s (I’m paraphrasing here) I AM DOING A NEW THING! (Isaiah 43:19)
II Corinthians says, “I make all things new.! ALL things. ALLLLLLL things. “ (II Corinthians 5:17)
I am thankful for new beginnings and fresh starts. And that God continually makes all things new! Even us.
Happy Bless-ed Season of Thankfulness and New Beginnings!