Thanksgiving by Candlelight

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you! 1 Thessalonians 5:17

One Thanksgiving, when our sons were still teen-agers, Nancy had to work the first half of the day. To make things easier, she had prepared some of the food the night before, but the turkey was up to us guys to have cooked by the time she came home. So, while Nancy went off to her duties at the department store, I started wrestling with the bird and had the boys get the table set. Believe it or not the sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and cheesecake for desert were all ready by the time Nancy got home about four-thirty. As soon as she got in the door our boys anxiously started asking if they could watch a football game from the table. Nancy groaned inwardly, and said, “Not until we are at least done eating the main course, please!”

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Then as we sat down and bowed our heads to give thanks for another year, a funny thing happened. The lights went out! The day had been sunny and warm, by Northeastern Pennsylvanian standards. While the boys and I sat stunned, Nancy, with a huge grin, leapt into action and pulled out the candles from the cupboard. By flashlight, I found a nice pair of candlestick holders and then in the flickering light that kind of reminded me of Abraham Lincoln in his log cabin, we bowed again and laughed as we gave thanks. After a hearty “Amen!”, we dug into the most delicious holiday meal that I can ever remember! Then, just as we finished eating, the lights snapped back on. The game was eventually watched, and later we learned our mysterious blackout happened because someone’s pickup truck had knocked over a power pole. But whatever the explanation, I am convinced to this day that God in His own special timing, took us off schedule, to remind us that taking time together and being thankful to him is what a real Thanksgiving is all about!

In happy moments, praise God. In difficult moments, seek God. In quiet moments, worship God. In painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.”

Rick Warren

Time to Be Thankful by Peter Caligiuri

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16 KJV

We have time to eat turkey
And time to have our pie
Time to watch some football
And for buying stuff on line

But for everything God gave us
Will we take time to say “Thanks”
Or just argue over politics
And a film that stars Tom Hanks?

But if Jesus is the center
Of all we do and say
Then truly we can celebrate
This Good Thanksgiving Day!

It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors. - George Washington



Thankful for happy memories with my real Thanksgiving treasures!

Hymns Connecting Generations

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord - Ephesians 5:19 NKJV

It is almost Thanksgiving, which in my calendar means slowly switching from the hymns to Christmas Carols. But before bidding adieu to In the Garden, How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace, I wanted to take a moment to write about the connecting power of hymns. First of all, I did not grow up listening to hymns. To be sure the choir sang something at the Congregational church where I attended with my family, however I had no idea what they were singing. The ancient stone building echoed so that I assumed they might have been singing in Latin. The first time I heard a hymn I could understand was when I was nineteen years old. As a child of the 60’s I grew up listening to the Beatles, Stones, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchel. So, when I gave my life to Christ at a Pentecostal church, I was amazed to hear their camp meeting hymns along with the early praise choruses that eventually led to the contemporary Christian music of today. The most delightful thing of all was that everybody sang. Old folks and young folks all looked like they were having a great time. The music helped to connect generations and some of the rowdiest of the bunch were often the old timers! A hearty HAAAALEEEELUUUUJAH! would sometimes suddenly arise from the sweetest old lady or grey-haired saint, right in the middle of a verse, causing the hair on the back of my neck to stand up!

I remember we had two song books in those days. There was a large, hard covered hymnal as well as a small soft covered chorus book. When the worship leader would call out, “Please turn to number 439”, I always marveled at the number of songs between those covers. Today, I realize that just counting Charles Wesley and Fanny Crosby, there are thousands to choose from, and when you sprinkle in America the Beautiful, Christmas carols, Easter hymns and Amazing Grace, it makes you realize that what we hold in our hands is only the tip of the iceberg of what has been left to us through 2,000 years of church history. And these songs connect us, not only to the generations who sit in the seat next to us, but also to everyone who has ever put their faith in Christ. We are reminded that Martin Luther, John Newton, Saint Patrick and Isaac Watts are still living and singing with us in the unseen choir loft of Heaven. More importantly these precious words and melodies of our “Rock of Ages cleft for me”, who is “Perfect in power in love and purity.” also connect us to Jesus Christ. They remind us that “We have decided to follow Jesus” and that we must “Surrender all to Thee my precious Savior!” and will joyfully “Crown Him with many crowns!” They tell us about “What a day that will be, when our Jesus we will see!” and that forever “He will walk with me and talk with me and tell me that I am His own!”