thanksgiving

I was dumping photos from my phone and saw this one — and had to laugh. Tired much? But I remember taking it, and I wasn’t thinking about how tired I was (or looked), but just was wanting to remember his little face buried in my neck, and the swirl of black hair on the back of his tiny head.

And in some ways, this picture is maybe a great summation of how 2020 has left me feeling: utterly exhausted and ready to fall into my bed and wake up to a new day, but also with a thousand blessings I want to never forget.

We’re kicking off this holiday season with the strangest Thanksgiving of my life, due to rules and regulations. But it feels awfully silly to complain about Thanksgiving. If there’s one day of the year when my grumpy self feels slapped upside the head, it’s Thanksgiving. And I need it this year, as much as — okay, let’s be honest, more than — ever.

Thanksgiving isn’t just optimism. It’s not Pollyanna-itis. It’s the fruit of a deep, deep encounter with God. It’s born out of a confidence that He is who He says He is, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God. It’s a shield against cynicism, bitterness, and disillusionment. It is, in some ways, the elusive Fountain of Youth the world has long sought after — not that it will keep you in your twenties, but it is the difference between hard and bitter, or sweet and joyful. For any who have set their hearts to run the race with endurance, it is absolutely essential. It is the lock and key that safely keeps untold treasures from being stolen away by the thieves of envy, jealousy, and negativity.

And so I’m seeing that yes, the circles under my eyes are extra dark — in so many ways, on so many levels. But also? My life overflows with blessings, not the least of which is currently snuggled in my arms as I write, making soft little baby sounds. I can succumb to the temptation to get lost in a sorry world of counted sorrows, or I can set my heart and my eyes on things above and find that His goodness and mercy have followed me every single day.

And a favorite quote regarding the first Thanksgiving:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”— Edward Winslow, 1621

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