On Thanksgiving mornings, I'd wake up with the smell of food cooking and sounds of clattering in the kitchen. And football - without fail, a game or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade would be blaring from the television on the kitchen counter.
He was an excellent cook and would create elaborate feasts for us and our guests. Ironically, we spent our Thanksgiving meals with strangers. My dad had the gift of hospitality and he invited people to our table who had nowhere else to go. Many were not welcomed by their own families or lived far away, so they spent the day with us.
It was a treat to see who would show up, and I listened eagerly to the stories they'd tell as they laughed and ate with us. It could also be a sad thing to hear their backstories and sometimes I'd purposely linger at the kitchen sink so I could eavesdrop on their conversations.
Now it's different. These days we celebrate with our immediate and extended family and occasionally, a guest or two. This year, I got to spend time with my best friend (and cousin by marriage), Terri, who's usually out of town.
I'm so thankful that my children know and spend family time with their cousins.
I'm also thankful that I got to experience it my dad's way; both traditions are valuable.
The Bible tells us that one day we'll all gather together at the great feast in the kingdom of our heavenly father. At that time, we'll truly know what being thankful really means.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28-29