Happy Thanksgiving precious ones!
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him in psalms (songs). (Psalm 95:2 NASB)
Thanksgiving. A combination of two powerful words thanks and giving. Early on Thanksgiving was celebrated as a day of prayer and the festivities lasted 3 days. People gathered together to praise God for the bounty of their crops and give to each other in spirit, share food and fellowship.
One of my favorite scenes from a holiday movie is from Holiday Inn. Bing Crosby has opened an Inn in Connecticut that is only open on holidays. When the big animated calendar gets to November the turkey jumps from the third Friday in November to the fourth Friday then back with a quizzical look on it’s face. I never understood that scene so I fired up trusty(?) Wikipedia. Apparently it wasn’t until 1941 that President Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday of November to be the legal federal holiday. Before that the holiday was on it’s own sometimes held on the 3rd Thursday and sometimes the 4th. The movie was made in 1942 so it was the first year of Thanksgiving being “legal”. Okay, there is your bit of trivia if this is ever a Jeopardy question! You can wow your party guests if you play Trivial Pursuit holiday edition.
Thanksgiving for our family has always been a big deal. My grandmother Stephens would get up before dawn and get her famous yeast rolls started. We so looked forward to those rolls and all secretly hoped she made many extras for us to take home. Most years I spent the night before with grandma to help her in the morning so I was privileged to have a hot roll out of the oven with my made from scratch hot cocoa. The butter mixed in with the sweet taste of the roll dipped in the cocoa is a fond memory that my heart cherishes. There is literally nothing like a turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce sandwich made on grandmas rolls and served for lunch on the Friday after. I can taste it as I write!
Turkey in the oven, kids running all over the house, mom, aunts, cousins crowding the kitchen, men playing dominoes in the sun room, hot cider, warm conversation and lots of love were always in order for the Stephens family.
Then there was the year of my mom’s first attempt (and last) at making all of the pumpkin pies. She was determined! I was about 13 then. It was the year before everything went terribly south in my family. That year I had a well paying babysitting job (.75 an hour) the Wednesday night before so I was not at grandmas.Mom was up early making pie crusts from scratch. There were no prepackaged Pillsbury crusts back then. Canned pumpkin and all of the spices lined the counter in our kitchen. The house smelled heavenly! She covered all 5 pies with Reynolds Wrap and off we went to my Auntie Betty’s house. We had to graduate the dinner to her house as our family had out grown grandma’s dining room. We had to move on to my aunt’s basement.
If my memory serves me correctly we had about 25 people that year. Our Thanksgiving dinners were always open to anyone who would come. Dinner was scrumptious as always and grandmas rolls went fast. Now it was time for the pies. Mom brought out her pumpkin masterpieces. I dare to say that Martha Stewart herself would have been proud!
I watched as mom cut each sliced and lovingly put them on plates. We should have known when she mistakenly left all of the whipping cream all prepped and hand whipped sitting in a pyrex dish in the refrigerator at home, that this was not going to turn out well.
Sitting with a piece of pie on the plate in my lap I watched as my uncle took a bite. He had a strange look on his face. Then he took another bite and kind of gulped it down followed by a large drink of water. I bit in to my piece and immediately spit it out! “Mother” I shouted in my 13-year-old I don’t know how to say it privately and not embarrass her voice, “this pie tastes awful”. She turned several shades of red then solid white when she grabbed my fork and took a bite. Oh my gosh you have never seen ninja moves like the ones my mother performed as she confiscated all plates with the pumpkin disaster on them! You see, pumpkin pie does not resemble anything delicious if you forget to add a crucial ingredient: sugar.
Trying to salvage them my dear grandma took them into the kitchen and sprinkled sugar on top of them and put them in the broiler to try to give them a crème brulee look and taste. Well no can do! There was, however, a silver lining for one particular guest. His name was Clem and he was diabetic. He was in pumpkin pie heaven and ate several pieces and took the remainder home. He found them quite delicious and thanked mom for her cooking foible.
That is a day for which I am so thankful. We made a memory that year. Even today we say “Remember when mom forgot to put the sugar in the pies? Boy Clem was sure happy!” Good old Clem. He made our day!
We come before the Lord with thanksgiving on this our national day of thanks. Thankful for the bounty set before us, for opportunities we would never have had it not been for those brave souls who forged the trail to establish our country, thankful to a loving God who has gotten us this far. Today let us shout joyfully to Him in song! Let us enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter His courts with praise. Let us say this is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice for He has made us glad. As we go about the day while watching the Macy’s parade (that is a story for another blog post), cooking, eating, sharing, game playing, loving and missing those family members who live far away or are in heaven, let us take time first to give thanks where it is do; to a most benevolent God who started it all. Thank you Father for everything You have created and for your sovereignty over our lives. ️
Oh, P.S. All calories consumed before midnight tonight do not count so enjoy!