Bonnie Gray is the soulful author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured on Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons. Visit Bonnie at www.thebonniegray.com and connect with her @thebonniegray on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Thanksgiving Day is here... And my family and I will stay home this year, to nurse a yucky cold.
It's one of those winter bugs that remind me of the turkey and gravy that goes around the table on Thanksgiving Day.
It gets passed around.
I'm the last in my family to catch this winter bug, so everyone is mostly on the mend. Except me.
We usually head over to my aunt's house for a big family get together. It gets really festive with more aunts, uncles, cousins, and babies than a fire-marshal would approve of. There's also a brain-damaging amount of television that's usually aired as background noise through all the celebrating.
Even so. As we all know, the various challenges we face in our family relationships -- the issues that we want swept under the rug -- don't take a break for the holidays.
But, the good news is this: Thanksgiving doesn't have to be perfect to be memorable.
Gratitude is what makes this holiday memorable.
With hearts overflowing with gratitude, my husband and I are celebrating, thankful --
For God's love that brought us to belong to Him,
For the love and friendship that has kept us best friends and loving couple,
For the children He's given us to nurture and shelter,
For giving us food to be nourished and home to lay down in,
For the friends who warm our hearts,
For the families who enrich our lives.
Thanksgiving dinner this year will be a wonderful feast among our family of four.
Hubby graciously did a grocery run as I write this post, to pick up a pre-ordered Turkey Dinner, so that there is minimal cooking -- perfect to enjoy the day with our two boys, playing board games, build legos, and setup choo-choo trains. Thanksgiving will be low key, but it won't go by silently.
I still plan to light candles.
Instead of my home-made Thanksgiving apple pie, I will bake something simpler this year: pumpkin spice bread.
While we take bites of desert, we will enjoy a short time of thanksgiving remembrance. I like to read a picture book about the pilgrim's first Thanksgiving, as a way to introduce a time for each of us to share. What are you thankful for this year? we ask around the table.
This year, I'm going to add something new, since six-year-old TJ is now in kindergarten: gratitude notes. Kids draw so much as kinders, I'm going to ask him draw something he enjoys about each family member. And Hubby and I will do the same (two-year-old CJ can scribble). Then, we can share them at the table, with each family member.
Thanksgiving doesn't have to be perfect to enjoy gratitude.
As we bow to pray tonight, I would have already given a word of thanksgiving for you too.
Providence brought the friendship of Native Americans to the first pilgrims, and it got them through a grueling winter. There's also no doubt in my mind that God has brought your friendship here through the blogosphere -- as we encourage each other in the daily grind.
I've lived through my share of winters to know that connection isn't something that can be produced or created.
It is a gift.
You have given me the best -- sharing what everyday faith looks like in your life. Your stories have stored up an amazing harvest, that will last me through my spiritual journey ahead.
~ We are spiritual pilgrims, on our way to where God is taking us.
~ We don't know the lay of the land, but we walk by faith.
~ Together, we help each other by sharing what we know -- and equally important, what we don't know.
If we knew everything and saw everything so clearly, we would have no need for faith. There would be no mystery. There would be no risk.
Today, as I thank God for how He's blessed me, I thank God for you. I gather your words and your silent comraderie, like a happy chipmunk on a bright autumn day.
Early in our nation’s history, a group of pilgrims left home to find freedom.
Those of us who are following the way of the cross are also on a faith pilgrimage.
We leave the familiar behind — self-direction and self-fulfillment — to experience something greater: God-directed and faith-filled lives. There are joys and trials as our stories unfold. I'm grateful to travel the in-between time together. So much more meaningful and that much less alone.
Thank you, Jesus, for being faithful in your love for us, calling us your friends. You draw near, during times no one else notices.
Even before you faced your longest winter on the cross, you stopped to celebrate a bit of thanksgiving, with a meal surrounded by friends.
We can face our winters and encourage each other, because you lived through our winters on the cross.
And for that, we are thankful.
You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it's a must."
~ 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (The Message)
How are you celebrating Thanksgiving? I hope you have an awesome Happy Thanksgiving!
Pull up a chair. I savor your thoughts and your stories. click to share a comment.
By Bonnie Gray, the faithbarista serving up shots of faith for everyday life.
Bonnie Gray is an inspiring Christian writer and blogger, offering encouragement to keep faith fresh in the daily grind. Her writing springs from the belief that the beauty of faith often takes place when life goes off script. Bonnie is the Founder of faithbarista.com and featured writer for Hallmark subsidiary DaySpring's (in)courage. Bonnie is a native Californian living in the heart of Silicon Valley with her best friend Hubby, wrangling their two heaven-sent boys on the homestead.
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