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!

Saving the Best for Last

And Last He took the Cup

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 ESV

While we listened to quiet music, preparing to receive communion last Sunday, my mind turned back fifty years to memories of a farm where we once lived. In those days, my mornings began at a quarter to five. In the chilly darkness, I would stumble out to the barn where, our cow Blondie waited for me to bring her ground corn and hay. As I went about my work, she contentedly munched on ground corn and Kansas City, our cat watched expectantly hoping for the few drops of milk I sometimes sent her way. Twenty minutes later I would return with a bucket of warm fresh milk. This was poured through cheese cloth and allowed to settle, till the cream rose to the top. That cream we skimmed off and set aside. That very best part of the milk we saved for last.

And saving the best for last, is exactly what Jesus did at the very first communion table. While the disciples were still arguing over which of them was most important, Christ took the precious bread and the cup to try and show them what must soon happen on a terrible cross, waiting just up the road for Him. After three years, during which they had shared countless adventures, sailed through storms and seen miracles, the disciples still had much to learn. So, as they sat together at the Last Supper, Jesus gave thanks, then took the bread saying, “This is my body,” and then the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood.”

Two thousand years later it is no different. We still have the privilege with uncounted millions of others who have believed before us, to drink His cup, and remember that for Jesus, it meant the cross. For Him that cup was filled with suffering, but He drank off its bitterness and left for us the sweetness of the best for last. This New Covenant cup, bought with His blood, for us is filled with mercy, love and eternal life. All that Jesus asks us is that as we receive, we remember Him – until He comes again!

No Wallet – No Cell phone- No Keys!

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:9-10 NIV

Last night in a forgetful moment, I went for my walk around the neighborhood sans cellphone, wallet or keys. In fact, I didn’t even don a baseball cap to ward off the stray shower which in Florida, we are so prone to have. I breathed in deeply of the air, now clean from the recently ended heavy thunderstorms and cool by August standards as the sun had almost set. Then my mind turned back to my exploring days as a ten-year old out on a summer afternoon.

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Then, I had no wallet, mainly because I didn’t own one. If I needed money for the Saturday matinee, Mom would slip me a quarter for the movies and if I was lucky, another dime to buy some popcorn. We kids didn’t even have Social Security numbers, and if anyone needed to know our identity, they just asked our parents. And of course, we had no cell phones. They weren’t even invented yet and even our house phones were pretty much reserved for adults. The most I ever got to say was, “Thanks for the swell Christmas present Gammy” and then, “Gotta go. Here’s my mom.” Maybe most amazing of all to our modern readers, I had no keys. Who needed them? Our house was never locked!

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When we were out at the beach, the neighbor even sometimes stopped in to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar when she was baking a cake. No, our lives were far from perfect, but we possessed a treasure of trust that we didn’t even know we had and is now lost forever. We trusted that whatever we had was enough and that our parents knew who we were. We depended on our friends to get help if we got in trouble (which was pretty often) and we believed that we were safe enough to leave the house unlocked because the bad guys had been defeated in the war and now the good ones were in charge.

And God reminded me this morning that, though that world has disappeared forever, He has not changed. He always knows exactly what we need and will take care of us even in the farthest corner of the earth. And our true identity is safely hidden with Christ in God. Even when we forget, God remembers who He has made us to be. And last and best of all; God listens. When our cell phones go dead and the internet goes down, we stay connected to God. There is no place on earth where we need to ask, “Can you hear me now?” because He is with us always and forever. Finally, we must believe that the cross of Calvary has unlocked the door to God’s house and that it stands open for all who will come. He is always home. God is waiting for us to grow weary from play. He watches for us to come safely home with the assurance that we are welcome, we are expected, and that our place is set at Heaven’s dinner table for all who put their trust in Him!