It’s Thanksgiving Day!
Today is the day that our immediate family will celebrate Thanksgiving with some of our family in the United States for the first time in four years! That’s significant.
Living in South Africa, Thanksgiving isn’t really a ‘thing’ there.
Why should it be?
Thanksgiving is an age-old, American holiday that found its origin in 1621 when two very different groups of people chose to gather under trees and around tables to share in three days of feasting and celebration because of their good harvest and their gratitude to God.
I’ve always loved the meaning of Thanksgiving. It is a day to express our thankfulness for our family, our friendships, our food and shelter, our health, our opportunities, our work, and every other type of blessing and provision that our Heavenly Father has generously provided us this past year.
However, in South Africa, the Thanksgiving date comes near the end of the school and work year. During a time when things start to shut down in southern Africa, there is always too much to do to finish the year strong and finish the year well. As a result, it’s difficult for our family to have a Thanksgiving weekend – let alone a Thanksgiving Day. Sometimes, we’re able to pull it off on the fourth Thursday of November. Other times, we must wait until the weekend. And? To be honest, the Thanksgiving holiday may be just a regular school and work day for us – with our family noting the holiday but acting like most South Africans and getting about our lives and our work.
Yet, John and I do make every effort to call our family in the States to wish them a very happy Thanksgiving – regardless of the time or year. Because it’s during the holidays that we often feel the distance between grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins the most. And we know they feel the separation, too.
But not this year!
This year, after four years of waiting, we will be able to be with members of John’s family and celebrate Thanksgiving in the States. Again, this is a significant and special moment in our family’s lives.
Since 2006, this will be our third time in 14 years of celebrating this wonderful holiday with our family. We don’t take such times for granted.
And that is what I am thankful for.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
New International Version, Psalm 107: 8-9
John gets to be with his mom and his sister’s family on Thanksgiving and our children get to be with their grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins. I’ll be there, too. 😊 This gathering is a real and significant blessing for us. The blessing of love and relationship.
We won’t be gathering under trees in the cold, frosty air like the Pilgrims and First Americans did. We’ll be inside, appreciating the warmth of floor heating, protected and shielded from the icy, cold winds that are blowing strong. A blessing of shelter.
And food? Micah can’t wait for the pumpkin pie (a dessert that is very rare in South Africa). Caleb and Jake are eagerly anticipating their Aunt Susie’s homemade rolls – another treat! Honestly, there will be lots of Thanksgiving fare for all to enjoy! A blessing of nourishment and care.
I don’t know what we will talk about this Thanksgiving Day. However, the conversations will be in person, face-to-face, and heart-to-heart. A blessing of presence.
Again, we don’t take any of these Thanksgiving Day blessings for granted. We’re here. We’re loved. We’re sheltered. We’re fed. We’re present. We’re grateful.
And we’re so very blessed.
I pray you are, too!
Happy Thanksgiving my Friends! May this day be a special one for you and your family!
Image retrieved from Google image search on gratitude