At the end of August, I took my kids to the orthodontist and there were ceramic pumpkins on the doctor’s front porch. That same week, Kroger replaced the school supplies on the seasonal aisle with Halloween candy. Don’t get me wrong. I love fall. However, my first instinct upon seeing all the orange and purple was indeed horror. With it being 90+ degrees outside and with two months to go before the end of October, I just wasn’t mentally ready! It felt like I had just unpacked from summer vacation. School may have started, and college football may be have been in full swing, but my sleeveless shirts, white pants, and flip flops were still in heavy rotation, and my kids were still spending much of their weekends at the neighborhood pool.
A Thanksgiving Meal
My how things can change in just a few weeks! In my ladies’ bible study, we studied Leviticus 3, which describes the fellowship offering, and suddenly… I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving! The first question in our study guide asked us to reflect on what it is we desire to communicate to our guests when we host a special meal. My thoughts immediately went to Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving for many reasons. The first reason can be summed up in five simple words: Aunt Margo’s Green Bean Casserole. This is THE dish in my family. THE non-negotiable. It’s the only time that my non-veggie eaters will happily shovel forkfuls of something green into their mouths, and unfortunately that includes my husband. The cheesy, tangy, salty, buttery-cornflake-crusted, decadent goodness is impossible to beat. Thank you, Margo. We love you.
The second reason I love Thanksgiving is because I love our family traditions. This is the holiday for which I have particularly striven to create meaningful rhythms. I always have a craft ready for the younger kids in the family such as making a thankful tree, decorating place cards, or making pinecone turkeys. I also love the moment when we stand in a large circle before the meal and read a psalm of thanks together. The adults and big kids take turns at dinner reading thankful quotes, ranging from the hilarious (and just slightly scandalous) to the sacred. At the end of the meal, we write what we are most thankful for on pieces of paper and as each note is read aloud, the group must decide together who wrote it. All these traditions foster the closeness I so desire with my family but more importantly, they are an opportunity for us to draw our collective attention toward our Savior, the one to which we owe all our gratitude.
But I’ve been missing something.
A Sacred Meal
Even as I strive to both strengthen family bonds and look heavenward on Thanksgiving, I ultimately take for granted what Christ has accomplished in order to share an even greater, more sacred, more intimate meal with His family. It is clear when studying His Word that He doesn’t want to be honored from a distance; He has invited us to sit at His table. Long ago, His glory descended upon the tabernacle at Mt Sinai that He might draw near to His people and invite them to a banquet. Later, He put on flesh and broke bread with His flock in order to Himself become the perfect and final sacrifice, paying the ransom for our sins once and for all time. After His resurrection, He drew nearer still by placing His Spirit into the heart-temple of every believer. He meets us now when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper; when we honor Him and are reminded of His sacrifice. In the final days, we will sit at the wedding feast of the Lamb and He will finally be fully united to us, His bride, for all eternity.
He has done all of this to have fellowship with His family. With me. Me who fussed at my kids yesterday when a gentle answer would have sufficed. Me who was harsh and critical to my husband despite how well he loves me. Me who often wants to control the details of my life and the lives of those I love instead of trusting that I have a Savior that lovingly works out all things for our good. He wants to roll out the red carpet and provide a feast. He has a seat at His table with my name on it. He has gone through great lengths to put it there. Profoundly painful lengths. Bloody Leviticus lengths. Separation from His Father lengths. Carrying the burden of all sin lengths. Crucifixion lengths.
This year I will be hosting Thanksgiving again. I can’t wait to breathe the crisp fall air and to witness the leaves on my favorite ginkgo tree down the street turn vibrant yellow just in time for the holiday. I can’t wait to eat yummy family favorites, to make big messes with my precious little nieces, and to laugh with my family. Mostly, I am excited for an opportunity to be reminded together of the Lord’s faithfulness and love, and to thank Him for inviting us to His table.
About the Author:
Katie Driver is new to the blogosphere. Sitting quietly in her journals and her hard drive are the many essays about life, faith, and travel she has written over the years and shared with no one besides her husband. She is a long-time member of First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia where she facilitates a small group Bible study. As a family nurse practitioner at Christ Community Health, she practices gynecology in the urban under-served community of downtown Augusta.
Katie has been married for 23 years to her high school sweetheart. She and her husband share their home with two amazing teenagers and two dogs that drive her crazy. Please pray for her regarding the dogs. And the teens. And the marriage too, while you’re at it. Katie loves to read, travel, listen to great music, and spend time with friends and family. In her free time, you can find her in a Pilates class or studying Scripture.