For some time, after our Grandmother died, we longed for the broccoli casserole she had perfected in her kitchen. Eventually, my sister had a revelation, “Our broccoli casserole will never taste like Grandma’s because we don’t use expired cheese whiz.” It was true. The cheese whiz was the secret ingredient, and Grandma’s jars were always at least a couple years past expiration. And just like that, it was the end of her casserole era. Thanksgiving would never be the same.
Thanksgiving with my in-laws brought a bit of change at first. I grew up having small family gatherings where all of us fit around one table. My husband’s family Thanksgiving was bursting at the seams with a crowd of loved ones. I was quickly outed as a foreigner, to the group of southerners, when I referred to the dressing as “stuffing.” It’s practically sacrilegious to even whisper the idea of white breadcrumb stuffing while in the sacred midst of cornbread dressing. Even so, the family embraced me like one of their own from the beginning, and I fell in love with them and their turkey day traditions.
After the death of my Mother, many of our holiday traditions changed. She was the center of every family tradition, and then suddenly she was gone. We moved forward, with the heartbeat of change. However, our hearts were forever achingly different.
Sometimes change is easy. Sometimes change is hard. Somehow, during the holidays, the challenge of change can be compounded. I’ve learned, although still struggle with, the benefit and beauty of being present in the moment. How can you focus on the blessing of the now, when distracted by the fact it may be different than the past? How can we live in the moment if we are fearful of change to come in the future? How can we truly appreciate the day to the fullest?
As we sojourn through an ever changing world, we can cling to the fact there is One constant. The Lord of yesterday, is the Lord of tomorrow, and the Lord of the now. He is still on the throne. He is still in control. The now is a gift. It’s a beautiful moment wrapped up in a package with growth, love, and potential to prepare you for the tomorrow. There is peace there for those willing to sit with it, be okay with it, and be thankful for it, even if it doesn’t look like what they would have asked for. Beauty is revealed in this place.
Last night, I read a book to my boys about giving thanks on Thanksgiving. I intend to do just that this year. I invite you to join me. Whatever our Thanksgiving may look like this year, may we embrace each moment for what it has to give. May we be grateful, thankful, and expectant of its beauty and blessings.