You may not be having a Thanksgiving like this picture, but did you know Norman Rockwell painted this during World War II, when many sons and fathers were missing from that Thanksgiving table?
The Thanksgiving hymns we will review stressed the importance of giving thanks in times of pain and sorrow. So this week, no matter our circumstances, we will give thanks and pray for A Real Thanksgiving.
Let me tell you of a Thanksgiving day I’ll never forget.
It was 20 years ago. My parents were coming all the way from California. It is the only time I remember them coming to my home for Thanksgiving, and oh how I prayed. Neither were believers yet and I prayed for a “real Thanksgiving.” I prepared questions that my children were accustomed to, but I didn’t know how my parents would respond. Mother stayed for the sharing during the meal and then took a nap. But Dad stayed for hours as we kept sharing until the sun was sinking in the Nebraska sky, echoing the warmth in our hearts.
My dad stood, with tears in his eyes, and said,
“THAT WAS A REAL THANKSGIVING!”
I weep today to remember that benediction, that great answer from God who met the desire of my heart.
Four years later my dad came to Christ on his deathbed, and my mother, soon after, at the age of 93. Within six years my dad, then my husband, and finally my mother were safe in the arms of Jesus. Today I cherish the memory of that Thanksgiving day when the sun broke through the clouds.
How I pray God will meet you somehow this Thanksgiving and that we will have wonderful stories to share.
I know many of you will not host, but it is possible you could suggest one of these plans. I have three, and I’ll start with the the first two, which are short, easy, and fun, and should work with a group that has secular people in it as well. Then I’ll give you the longer plan, which was similar to what we did that day.
But even if you can’t do any of these on Thanksgiving, we will be sharing thanks together here this week. WE WILL HAVE A REAL THANKSGIVING! Keep going to your closet for confession, petition, and praise. But share your thanks here on the blog as we review the great Thanksgiving hymns we have meditated upon. I hope you are singing them all week.
Plan 1: Have everyone share something they are thankful for this year that they couldn’t have been thankful for last year.
Plan 2: (I stole this from a Hallmark Christmas movie called “A Very Merry Mix-up”) Give everyone index cards on which they write each person’s name along with one thing they are thankful for about him or her. Don’t sign the card you write on. Then each person reads their cards aloud and tries to guess who wrote each.
Plan 3. Click here: THANKSGIVING QUESTIONS
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. Might you try any of these plans with at least one other person? (Or if you are the hostess, you can e-mail the plan ahead so they can be thinking of what to say!)
Monday: For The Beauty of the Earth
Our own Sharon sent this — it moved me to tears. Watch, meditate on the lyrics, and share any way “the King kisses you” and makes you thankful.
3. What stood out to you and why? Give thanks!
Tuesday: We Gather Together
Listen to this meditatively.
4. Share what stands out to you. What do you remember about the history of the hymn?
5. Give thanks.
Wednesday: This is My Father’s World
Was excited to find this unusual rendition!
5. Share what the lyrics mean to you and give thanks!
Love this from a choir in Capetown! Has the joyful solemnity appropriate for this great hymn.