When the hour had come, He sat down, and
the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, "With fervent
desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled
in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:14-16 NKJV).
Last year, the Thanksgiving I envisioned
didn't happen. I thought our family in Virginia would be joining the
rest of the family in North Carolina and we would celebrate the many
blessings we have been given gathered around an assortment of
creatively arranged tables.
The first crimp in my plan came a week
before the big day, when my oldest daughter, Maddie, told us she
wouldn't be able to join us because of work. This would be the first
Thanksgiving in her twenty-year existence we would be apart. I tried
not to whine. I told myself I would be the conduit for hugs and
kisses and "I love yous" between Maddie and the extended family.
(It's likely in the next few paragraphs that the family connections
will become confusing. Don't worry about trying to sort who belongs
where — it's not really important.)
We regrouped and our smaller family unit
made the southward trek. Thanksgiving morning barely dawned before
my mother-in-law (and chief chef, I might add) called to say a bug
of some sort had squashed her. We should pick up the food and make
dinner at my brother-in-law's house.
We sent her our get-well wishes, retrieved the food, and reassigned
cooking tasks, determined to gather. But it was not to be — for some
of us. The aunt of my sister-in law, Tara, called to say Tara's
91-year-old grandmother, "Nan," had been taken to an Intensive Care
Unit. She had serious stomach pain. This branch of Tara's family
lives three hours away in South Carolina. Tara hated to bail on
everyone, but she had to go. My husband Sam said I should go with
Tara so she wasn't alone on the road on Thanksgiving Day.
That left no adult females to do any
cooking. The men said they would manage.
So on Thanksgiving Day, I found myself
traveling away from my family to a hospital toward people I didn't
know. While we traveled south, Tara's Aunt Debbie called to invite
us to "Somebodys'" house for the holiday meal. I felt hesitant. Tara
didn't really know the "Somebodys." We visited Nan who was weak but
stable. She was incredibly happy and thankful to see Tara (and even
me who she had never met). I was so glad we made the trip.
Afterwards Tara and I and our growing
appetites tossed aside our hesitations and agreed to join Debbie and
her husband, Gary, for the Thanksgiving meal. They picked us up from
the hospital and riding to who knows where, I had to smile thinking
of a quip that had come to my mind: "If you want to make God laugh,
tell him your plans." I wouldn't be feasting with my family, but
instead with my sister-in-law's aunt's daughter's husband's parents
and their family and friends.
It wasn't until we were seated around the
table (I'm slow sometimes) giving thanks and breaking bread that it
hit me — they are my family. We are connected not only through Tara,
but more importantly through Christ and the acceptance of His
One day we will know what it really means
to celebrate as Christ's family. We will gather around the table and
take part in the breaking of the bread with Him and we will all feel
at home. We won't have to "skooch" tables together or worry about
intruding or about who's working or who is ill. It will be perfect.
As for this past holiday, I place it in
my "most memorable times" file I keep in my heart. I thank Patty and
Norm, the "Somebodies" for the hospitality and friendliness they and
their family extended to me. I send fifteen-month-old Charlie a big
You may be asking: what happened with the
meal in North Carolina? The men made the women look obsolete. Hmmm.
This I must ponder.