Almost Full

‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’ (Revelation 2:7 NASB)

As I write this Beth and I are only a few days away from celebrating twenty-seven complete years serving the Lord overseas. In all those years we took care to remember many of our homeland celebrations and introduce them to our children. There’s Independence Day, New Years, Easter and Christmas and there is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was and is a big event in our home. Last fall, during furlough, we celebrated Thanksgiving in our homeland for the first time in twenty-five years. It was great.

We were in Kentucky where most of our children live. Pies were made, turkey was cooked to perfection and almost everyone was available to enjoy the celebration. James and his family were conspicuously absent. He was overseas with the Army and his wife and their two month old daughter couldn’t wrangle the trip. We missed them. The place was definitely almost full but more would’ve been better.

A couple days before Thanksgiving we were at Ellice, Brad and Laurana’s for a pie day. Beth helped Ellice and one of her friends make a whole passel of pies. Laurana made comments from her seat on the counter.

On Thanksgiving Day Evan picked up some rolls and side stuff. Beth, Joel, Sonya, and Hayden cooked the bird in their apartment. Hayden is a hoot when it comes to helping in the kitchen. Maybe he’ll become a chef.

The family:Laurana, Ellice, Brad, Me, Evan, Beth, Joel, Sonya, Hayden.We gathered at the apartment with all the goodies and breathed deeply the wonderful smell of a perfectly prepared turkey turning a beautiful brown. While the bird was simmering in its sauces we enjoyed cookies and playing with our grandchildren. Joel has a nice big screen TV which provided a marvelous display of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It’s been a long time since we watched a parade live on TV. Beth and I both remember those special Thanksgiving mornings watching the parade as children. Beth watched the parade and cried. I didn’t cry but it was a wonderful feeling to see old familiar floats wafting along with some of the newer renditions.

Meal time was a blast with everyone passing fixin’s and food around the table. Needless to say, we were very thankful to be in one place to share with most of the family. There were plenty of leftovers to be sure but they wouldn’t last too long.

After the meal, it was football time! I didn’t really care who won or which team played. It was nice to watch a “live” game and pick a side to cheer on without already knowing the results. Watching a live game on Thanksgiving brought a tear to my eyes. Beth didn’t cry. To each his own I suppose.

When the game concluded, we gathered everyone for some family photos and to divvy up the leftovers. It was a full day with full bellies and full schedule of events. How fulfilling is that? We were just about full up.

There was only one piece missing. That was James and his family. More than once my mother has commented on not seeing all her family in one place for many years. I’m beginning to understand this more and more. It’s all part of life I suppose and should be expected.

Me, I’m looking forward to a grand reunion one day.  It’ll be at an unbelievable banquet held at God’s dining table. The dining table won’t be in an apartment in Kentucky but in the Paradise of God. The main dish won’t be a succulent turkey but fruit from the tree of life.

Until then, I’ll settle for a great Thanksgiving celebration with as much of the family as possible.

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