When I think of Thanksgiving, or hear the word spoken, I do believe dried corn and colorful leaves pop up like a slide show in my head. They surround the word as if I'm staring at a school bulletin board display decorated for the holiday and all about pilgrims and indians. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade then comes to mind and I see that silly turkey float, a marching band, and Snoopy in the sky. (Oh man, how I loved watching that parade as a kid! I still like it, but it never seems to have the same magic anymore. I blame it all on the fact that I am now too old to become a baton twirler or one of the dancers in a Broadway show, performing a number before the parade gets going.) All these images stir something warm and delicious inside me as if I'm a mug of cocoa on a snowy day.
Now all our snow has melted yet Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It will be Geddy's 2nd, my 5th as a wife, and my I-won't-say-how-many as a person. I have spent Thanksgivings at the beach— freezing my toes off because we were not in the tropics—at home with family coming over, away from home at other family members' houses, and I have enjoyed one Thanksgiving in France where we had quite a feast and celebration thanks to all the American students at my school putting it all together. No matter where I spend it, I still feel amazing inside.
I think about the traditions I want to keep and new family magic that Luke and I can create with our son. This gets me to thinking forward to Christmas as well. So much about the holidays are just that, pure magic, and I want to capture it and build on it and sprinkle it about like confetti. My blessed, safe upbringing just makes it all seem like these feelings, joys, and traditions must exist for everyone. But they don't.
Ugh. I can't stand to think about children in my city without cozy, loving, family magic and reasons for brimming with thankfulness. I can't stand it, then I dwell on it, then I bury it from my mind. I can give money to the shelter; I can buy someone a turkey; I can donate toys at Christmas; I can smile; I can be kind; I can pray. But I can't give them the childhood they've never known.
I can't give grownups who had crappy childhoods a redo: no "abracadabra your childhood was AWESOME and you love the holidays too."
And it hurts to realize that God can't do it either. I mean, yes, God could turn back time, God could snap his fingers, whatever, he's all powerful, all knowing, all God. But if he did any of that it would just screw EVERYTHING up and we would no longer have God as God but just some genie or something. We wouldn't have reason for his sacrifice or hope of life eternal without sin.
So I get out my Kleenex and blow my nose and take a deep breath and stop my insane train of thought and relax a bit because no one is going to change the past, for better or worse, and it is OK for me to enjoy my beautiful memories and share them with my husband and son, but I need to still do what I can to love in the now and make it worth it for others. Whatever I can is enough because Jesus died to make everyone whole, and that's everything that matters. That's worthy of thanksgiving. I can keep my corn, and leaves, and parade, and warm fuzzy magical joy and know that there will be a day when Thanksgiving will cover the biggest table ever and every million billion person around it will be brimming with gratitude.