Giving Thanks…or Food, Football and Macy’s Parade?

I saw two eagles fly to the top of the hill and begin to circle. Since the trees are bare, I can see a large nest in the top, but it’s a long way off. It puzzles me to see a hawk in eagle territory but somehow no one cares. When the eagles circle, the hawk flies off.

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I stop and smile my thanks… for eyes to see, this nature moment, just for me.

Creation draws me to him in the most intimate way. This is where I feel closest to God.

At the moment I am finishing up Leslie Leyland Fields book, The Spirit of Food.

http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Food-Writers-Feasting-Fasting-ebook/dp/B004JU0IVI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416935534&sr=1-1&keywords=spirit+of+food&pebp=1416935536532

 

As I read the essays, I can almost taste the food as each author describes it. The slow, purposeful way one family makes homemade pasta, sauce and bread. As they prepare this meal together, they encourage their teen’s friends to join in. These friends seem awed by this event as if it were a totally new idea. Indeed, it is new to them. They are pleased as punch to be part of this process of making food. But more than making the food, it is the company that is most hospitable. That makes all the difference.

Gathering for a meal is not at all about gobbling down quickly and getting on with the next busy thing. A meal isn’t a grab and go burger and coke at a fast food restaurant on the way to a soccer game. We were not meant to come to the table, and slip away without tasting the food.

I’ve had a hotdog or two during football, or a slice of pizza grabbed during baseball season. Even with six children playing sports, I fought for traditional meals together, knowing this is an important intimate family setting.

My grandmothers made home cooked meals every day. Lunch was not a bowl of soup and grilled cheese, it was a meal. The table was set for everyone to eat…together.

Did you ever wonder about the conversation at the Last Supper? As delectable as the food can be, the conversation can turn sour.

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There was the betrayal… and Judas left them. The bread and wine Jesus shared so they could remember him. In Luke, what did the disciples do? They argued over who was the greatest among them. The very night before he was taken, they argued! Their eyes were blind to the future of their Lord.

Did the men remember that conversation with Jesus later, when he was in the grave?

There is much to be said about the slow savor of the food; the company of those with whom you share the meal, and the happy conversation—leaving behind the negative stresses of life.

Is Thanksgiving Day about watching a parade while someone cooks, stuffing ourselves like a turkey, and lying around the rest of the day watching football? Maybe your family has a hunting ritual, and you come in for the dinner and go out again.

Is this true fellowship?  Can we give thanks in all these things?

This is a place to slow… and thank God for the wealth of food on our plates, and all else

We may have fanciful colors around the table; a comical plate of pepperoni, cheese and crackers laid out in the shape of a turkey. There may be too many cooks in the kitchen, and a bit of turmoil, but then we pause…all seated…giving thanks for all.

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Is this your image of Thanksgiving dinner?

 

Memories are made of this—Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, the morning hunt, and the football game, or is it just about the company? Have we prepared our hearts for the worship and thanks for all we have as we try to balance cooking all the dishes, and laying out the spread?

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Or how about this?

 

“For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth, over and around us lies,

Lord of all, to Thee we raise

This our hymn of grateful praise.”

Savor the food; savor the memories, the fellowship, the conversation, and the beauty and sacrifice…the Savior.

 

   May you and yours have a blessed day of remembrance!

When a House is a Home

I’ve heard three birds bang into our front window today and I hesitate to close the sheer curtains, there’s so little light. What little light there is, is bouncing off the gray clouds today as it drizzles chilling rain all day after a few inches of snow.

 

Some green peeks out of snow in the backfield, but everything is slush and I want to be cozy in the house, and suddenly I hear knocking. It’s not coming from the door and as I go down the hall I find that there’s a woodpecker on the brown wood shingles on the front of the house! I wonder how old a house has to be before woodpeckers decide to destroy it for a few bugs?

 

We’ve been here twelve years and the siding is generally new, as is the roof. Yellow sides the back of the house, but why did they put brown shingles for the front? Since the siding has been there some years before we came, replacing the front to match the back would not make sense, so there it is…

 

Since we married and left Bible College, we went from living in an apartment to a parsonage, or what some people call the manse. The house felt huge after having been in an apartment for several years, but we filled it with two girls and a new baby. We put up wallpaper, and here I had my first washer and dryer and thanked God every time I washed that I didn’t have to use quarters anymore.

 

Here we met large families, and farmers, and fishermen. We met a jokester with a lot of kids, that would give you the shirt off his back…and the whole town knew and loved him.

 

It was here we met friends during the week at the beach on the Great Lake, and learned to cross country ski. Here we walked or rode bikes to the post office or the ice cream store. Women at church passed around recipes and sewing patterns. Here our family grew to five children and we made life long friends.

 

How do you make a church house your home? Depending on how much you are permitted to change in the house, you are basically stuck with the structure as is, and possibly carpet and/or other flooring.

 

But this is not what makes a home.

 

When I start baking and the house fills up with yeasty smells, I feel at home. My favorite thing, when moving to a new house is to bake bread. It’s not just the mouth-watering taste, but also the duty of putting yeast and water together, the kneading to creating that “old world” smell.

 

The mixing of flour,

the kneading of the dough into a dimpled ball,

and resting it for the rise.

 

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Bread…our reminder that Christ is the bread of life. With him we will never hunger, even though we may be hungry.

 

Then there’s popping corn! The smell fills the house and reminds me of being a child at the theater eating too much butter on the popcorn while watching Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella. In our home we curl up on the couch and pass the bowl around as we watch yet another Disney movie, and the dog chases after the fallen pieces.

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Home…
Home is where the heart is…where family is. We could be living all cold and tight in a tent, but if family were there…it would be home.

 

But it’s more than that…it is love. It’s acceptance.

 

When my oldest was planning her wedding and I started to see this progression of children leaving, I began to long for my own home. At the time we were in our third, but our smallest parsonage, and we were cramped for space. The woodpecker lived there too, (all brown shingles on that house).

 

We stacked wood there in the shed and shoved it down the cellar to heat the house. We were flooded out in a freak winter melt, and my husband’s widowed father was married again in the side yard. The boys hung from the maple tree in the front yard, and early one morning my husband was frightened in the dark by a large (bear?) object in the yard. He forgot the bush was there.

 

I think it was the bear that chased him in his dreams for years…

 

These are things we remember, that made the parsonage our home. After journaling for years, the good and bad memories mesh together and you forget the bad, because your family loves each other, and you made a safe place for them to live. It’s a place for games and serious discussions. A place where you are always welcomed, wanted, and forgiven and a place where you could feel free to bring your friends on a moments notice.

 

And what did Dorothy say?

 

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There’s no place like home!

 

 

So it really doesn’t matter if the house is big or small, if it hasn’t been remodeled since the 1930’s and needs new carpet. Just as we gather at church and God is with us, he is with us in our homes.

 

Christ has made his home in us and it is a comfortable place only because he abides there. Our hearts were finally made right…since the Fall.

 

There’s no popping corn there, no bread, but the Bread of Life.

 

We are all waiting for the ultimate home, the home where the Savior makes the mansions ready. There is barely a description of heaven…just enough to whet the appetite, and just enough is what makes us hunger for the day.

 

Our longing is the hunger…the loss of the perfect garden and the way it was supposed to be with God. The longer He waits, the more impatient we become.

But hold on…we cannot imagine the splendor of eternity.