Thanksgiving always creates emotional nostalgia in me. From the faces gathered around the table, to the places and homes where we’ve celebrated with those who’ve come and gone. Thanksgiving stirs remembrances quite unlike any other holiday.
My heart and mind slip away to Thanksgivings long ago. Grammar school plays where we dressed up like pilgrims and Indians and mouthed the words, “To Grandmother’s House We Go.” Oh, the happy celebrations with all the relatives and friends. Whether young or old, little or plenty, it’s the laughter, the food, the games, and the conversations—both quiet and loud—that fill and delight my memories.
The cousin who sat on my mother’s unbaked rolls.
The turkey that fell on the floor and broke apart.
A pie that never made it to the table.
An electrical storm that forced us to eat cookies and drink sparkling cider.
The snow-laden roads; the sunny beaches; the wind, hail, and rain; and picnic tables.
A beloved Thanksgiving memory of mine includes all four of our children and one of their outlaws.* They flew to celebrate the holiday with us in our Virginia home. It was the first time I caught a glimpse of Thanksgiving as a homecoming celebration. As we waited in the crowded airport for their arrival, my heart nearly burst with anticipation. The preparations, the shopping, the care involved to ensure everyone’s happiness, and the hope that for once the clock wouldn’t betray us. It would stop or at least slow its forward motion so we could catch our breaths and share Thanksgiving without fear those fleeting twenty-four hours would pass at hyperspeed.
We made the trek to Monticello, the rolling hills dressed in brilliant orange, yellow, red, and green. Crisp clean air and hot apple cider. We slipped back in time and toured Thomas Jefferson’s home with awe, but more grateful for today’s comforts.
Then, as usual, time deceived us. The day ended, and back to the airport we drove to where a jet whisked two children and an outlaw* away.
While that holiday stands out as a clear favorite, I’m impressed with the realization that another Thanksgiving celebration is a calendar page away. Before I can grasp the passage of time, I’ll open my door and greet family, friends old and new, and folks I’ve never met before.
I’ve celebrated more than a half-century of opportunities to give thanks, to open my heart and home, to plan, anticipate, and create new memories. The hands on the clock skyrocket faster than ever before, and all too soon the days flutter by like autumn leaves from my tree.
My eternal homecoming beckons bright. I can’t help but imagine the Lamb of the feast, those gathered at the table, the sparkle in their eyes and glow on their faces. No menu or shopping, no airports or goodbyes, and no other preparation required. Just acceptance of God’s plan, paid in full.
This holiday, as we cherish Thanksgivings past, present, and future, I pray the joyful anticipation of Homecoming resonates within.
*outlaws – what we call our children’s spouses because they are wanted and welcome
HAPPY THANKSGIVING and GOD BLESS YOU!!
By Amre Cortadino
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