I sit at the Thanksgiving table of my in-laws, rub my full-to-the-brim middle and swear I won’t eat another bite till Christmas.
Even as I say it, I swirl my fork on my dessert plate to catch the last salty-sweetness of pecan pie.
While my husband talks with his brother Andy about how their alma mater, Oklahoma State, fared this football season, I stare out the picture window of my in-laws’ dining room. The orange-amber sun lowers behind the tudor style home across the street, and I’m thankful to witness the glory.
As a military family, we’ve had as many diverse Thanksgiving meals as there were desserts on my mother-in-law’s buffet. We’ve had precious few with extended family, I can count them on one hand. We’ve had a couple with just David and myself or our family of five. The kids and I had one when my husband was thousands of miles away. We’ve had a few in other people’s homes. And we’ve had more still in our various dining rooms throughout the years, joined by a hodgepodge of rag-tag college students and friends who, like us, didn’t have family close by.
Thinking back on it, each holiday looked a little different than the one before. Either the food was different, the company was different, or the location was different. But no matter where we were or what we ate, the call was there, like steam rising over garlic mashed potatoes, to serve gratitude alongside the rosemary scented turkey.
A short while ago, my pastor, Bryan Counts, talked about how self-centeredness takes our hearts far off course from where they need to be. To prevent this from happening, our hearts need recalibrating from time to time.
Gratitude is one sure-fire way to recalibrate our hearts to North as it takes the focus off ourselves.
As you and I look ahead to the Advent season, let’s not forget: Whether sitting at the table, decorating the tree, or shopping at Target, we find a gateway to thanksgiving. We find a place to acknowledge all he is and all he gives. Our celebrations may not look exactly like we hoped or planned, but they may have a glorious beauty and wonder all their own.
As we near this new season of Advent, may we continually recalibrate our hearts toward the Star of Wonder that lights the way ahead of us.
And may we not miss all the simple, extraordinary ways Jesus shows up for us–and is with us–this season.