Devotional

“Thanksgiving Memories”

The Steincross farmThis farm in southern Missouri was in the Steincross family for over 100 years.

(click to enlarge)

Thanksgiving Memories”


Message summary:
Today let us join the truly wise and “heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord” and “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever”.
 
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“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43).

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. Hopefully, like us, you have some warm childhood memories of this day. We’ll share some of ours hoping to stimulate you into your own reminiscence.


Brooksyne: I recall the long trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Mountain Top, Arkansas. Unfortunately the 180 mile trip always meant I would deal with car sickness, both coming and going from our home in Tulsa, Oklahoma but the visit made it worth it. They lived way up on a mountain and we traveled dirt or often muddy roads for about 25 miles to reach their place. Grandpa had a 200 acre farm with plenty of animals so there were gates to open as we approached. Once we reached the first gate Daddy started honking his horn and would honk it all the way to their house – that way they knew their oldest son, Brooklyn Sherrell and his family of seven, had arrived for Thanksgiving. I can still feel a little of the excitement and anticipation once Daddy started honking because I knew Grandma and Grandpa would hear it and head out to their front yard waving to us as our car approached their house – and then the hugs and kisses began!
 
Stephen: I recall the annual Thanksgiving meal at his Uncle Gentry and Aunt Dora’s farm outside of tiny Harwood, Missouri (photo above). All the women in the kitchen chatting together as they prepared the huge feast. Playing outside with cousins in the barn until the sound of the dinner bell. Afterwards the men watched a football game on the huge 19 inch B&W TV as the women cleaned up. For the kids it was back outside for more play. Clark often brought his guns for some target shooting across the road and Bob may have taken us on a ride in his airplane.
 
For both of us it’s a day when food brings back many pleasant memories. Ham and/or the traditional turkey. A huge bowl of real mashed potatoes with butter melting on the top and a big gravy boat that will be refilled several times. Sweet potatoes, dressing (stuffing) and other yummy vegetable dishes. The tempting aroma of baked bread. The finishing touch will be the pumpkin and pecan pies!

Roles changes as we got older and we began to host the meals. Now a knock on the door signals the arrival of family members and friends – maybe from near, maybe from a distance. It’s a day of bear hugs, broad smiles, parades and football games, childish antics, happy tears, exchanging family news and gossip and many stories of “remember when”.

We look around and see the room filled with family members and realize this is neither our grandparent’s home nor our parent’s. It is ours, and we realize that then has become now – those yesterdays have become today.

We are the adults; indeed we are the elders. Where did the time go, when did all of this happen? It took place so gradually, so quietly, we never realized it. We still visit our parent’s and grandparents’ homes during holidays such as this – but in memories only.* We are now the parents and grandparents (and even great-grandparents). We hope those who come behind us have memories as good as ours!

Ecclesiastes 1:4 states, “Generations come and generations go”.

Thank God for the timeless, inter-generational teachings of the Word of God. Some three thousand years ago the Psalmist wrote our daily Scripture portion.

The Psalm begins with “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever”.

  • A command: “Give thanks to the Lord”
  • A reason:“for He is good”
  • A promise:“His love endures forever”
The Psalm ends with, “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord”.

Today we implore the truly wise to “heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord”.

Be encouraged today and have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, in thanksgiving we lift our voices of praise with grateful hearts. Whether in seasons of prosperity or in seasons of want we find Your grace sufficient to meet each one of our needs. Thank you for our many memories over the years with friends and family of many generations. Help us to pass on the truth of your goodness to all who come behind us. You guide us, protect us, and You provide for us as we journey here below. Every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand. Thank You, faithful Father! Amen.
 

 
Weber Thanksgiving 1988Thanksgiving with family at our home in Saint Marys, PA in 1988.
 
Thanksgiving table 2019
This morning that same 9′ table is being prepared for another set of guests, not blood-related, but just like family due to our very treasured long-time friendship! Four generations will gather, read Scripture, sing the doxology, play some Thanksgiving games and just enjoy each other’s company. Ages 2 through 85 years of age.
 
Thanksgiving dessert table 2019
Brooksyne set up the desserts but one very important dessert is missing – you may have noticed – no pumpkin pie! That’s because Anna Ruth is bring Pumpkin pie to add to our desserts of Pumpkin Cranberry Nut bread, Cherry Pie, Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pecan Pie and Ginger Snap Cookies.
 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Be Unto Your Name”Video  Robin Mark  This song reminds us of just how fleeting life is but that our security is in the eternal God.

* Brooksyne found the idea of reflections regarding the passing of time and memories over the years in her collection of writings but was unable to identify the author(s).


Special Thanksgiving Resources


We offer these resources to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thorns“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. (Note: You will need a good reader who should be given the story ahead of time to review so that it’s read with expression and clarity.) For many of us the Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Here’s an idea for sharing together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns”
(printable webpage).

“A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf)We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service many years ago. (blog post) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our long-time friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

Possible Discussion around the table:  July 22, 1620 – The pilgrims set sail for the new world and the setting is described by William Bradford in his journal: “So they left that goodly and pleasant city which had been their resting place for twelve years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and looked not much on those things, but lifted their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirit and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took leave of one another, which proved to the last leave to many of them.”  How would you feel if you were boarding the ship? How would you feel if you were saying good-bye to your loved one?

Suggestions for Present Day Thanksgiving: Preparations for Thanksgiving is time consuming but you might have extra time over the Thanksgiving weekend to enhance your celebration, especially if you have children present, by including some historical foods and activities present on the Mayflower or in Plimouth in the fall of 1621:

Games played by the children during the first harvest festival
– Arm wrestling, broad jump, racing competition, bow and arrow competition. The girls spent most of their time helping moms with food preparation during the three day gathering. If you have a mortar and pestle the girls can mash dried herbs and spices in preparation for seasoning veggies and such.

Food Samples – Some of the food on board the Mayflower was hardtack (ship’s biscuits), dried beef, and hard cheese.