Home for the Holidays
Large families are a huge blessing, especially at the holidays! As the youngest of eight children I have many memories of waiting for family to arrive on Thanksgiving. I had brothers and sisters driving home from college and from their own homes (bringing my nieces and nephews that were like brothers and sisters to me as they were more my age than my siblings). The anticipation built in me as I waited for our quiet home to be transformed into hub of laughter, fun, singing, and lots and lots of sharing. When I was young I took all of this for granted, I don’t anymore.
Many things have changed since I grew from being the baby in the family to having a family of four children of my own. I realize now that the presence of one thing connects every thanksgiving I have celebrated over the last 50 years: PRAYER. Throughout the years there have been many different forms of prayer depending on the household hosting the gathering that year, but every meal has always started in a prayer of Thanksgiving for the food we were about to share, for all of our blessings, and a prayer of petition for all those that would not have all that we had that day.
I will never forget one prayer in particular as long as I live. It was the prayer my niece’s husband prayed at their home the year he found out he had A.L.S. There was not a dry eye in the backyard tent (like I said our family is large and most houses can’t accommodate all of us) as he read from the book of Psalms in his bible. The night ended with the whole family singing Hallelujah accompanied by another niece’s boyfriend on his ukulele and all I could think of was the multitude of prayers being sent to heaven for him as I was reminded of the saying, “singing is like praying twice!” Two years later he is miraculously still in amazing physical health despite his diagnosis. He has an army of family and friends praying for him and, whether his good health is due to these prayers or to modern medicine, EVERY day is worthy of thanksgiving prayers for him.
Thanksgiving This Year
Today I fly to Denver to be with a whole new family this year for Thanksgiving… the family of my future daughter-in-law. I am bringing along a bag full of Blessing Bracelets to share. My prayer is that every time we look down at these bracelets they will be a reminder of the love shared on this beautiful occasion and of being blessed, once again, as our family continues to grow.