Friday, November 26, 2010
I had the distinct pleasure of spending the holiday with members of my wife's family. We were invited to their beautiful home in the Ozarks for a wonderful feast celebrating the things we are most thankful for. That is what the day is for, after all.
When all thirty or so of us had gathered, it was time for grace, to acknowledge God as the center of our lives and the reason for the feast which we were about to partake of. It was interesting how the group gathered for the prayer. We all assembled in a circle. No one directed this, it just happened. It was interesting that we did this because the circle is a never ending thing. It has no beginning and, hard as you might try, you will never find an ending. It is perpetual.
That is what a family is in a way. At one point in history it may have had a beginning with a young couple united in matrimony starting a family. As time goes on more and more members join the unit whether they are born into it or join it through marriage. As the circle grows, it becomes more diverse, stronger. The love that is shared has a perpetual quality about it since the love shared in the present will resonate well into the future. The circle will continue to enlarge or it may shrink, but the love that binds will not diminish.
Family is what Thanksgiving is ultimately about. Sure, we're all individually thankful about various elements in our lives. However, for most of us, the thing we have to be most thankful for are those people we call family. Without family, life is a hard and cruel place. Yes, families do feud from time to time and some may even go years without contact or speaking to one another. But even in these less than acceptable conditions, there is still that familial love that binds and will continue from this world to the next.
As we gave thanks in prayer, our attention was drawn to the center of the circle. There was nothing there but empty space. At least that is what the physical world told us. However, in reality, the center of that circle, the focus of our attention, was the love that was shared for each individual standing around that geometrical shape. And that love, in that moment and into the future, came from a loving God who had gathered us together for this occasion.
So you see, God was and indeed is, at the center of this family's life. May He continue to bless us with His bounteous love and take us well into the future as Thanksgivings continue to come and go.