A time to gather

-artwork by Jasmaine Holyfield, junior, Clay-Chalkville High School

-artwork by Jasmaine Holyfield, junior, Clay-Chalkville High School

by April McCay

Thanksgiving definition: 1.) the expression of gratitude, especially to God. synonyms: reverence, revering, worshipping, veneration, venerating, adoration

Thanksgiving is a special time of year, a time to gather. It’s a time of reflection, a time to be thankful for old and new memories. This day has a way of bringing family and friends together.

Sometimes it is also a day of forgiveness and hugs. It’s a day where recipes are shared and gobbled up. It’s a day where laughter and sorrow meet and share many memories together. Cindy Smith of Florida said, “My favorite thing is all the memories shared with loved ones over the years.”

It is a day of remembrance in every sort of way. James E. Faust said, “The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.” A thankful heart looks up and, with a transformation of thoughts, recognizes God’s goodness and greatness for the restoration of the family unit. Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and realize that the fellowship is much more valuable than the meal itself. (Don’t tell your grandmama I said that.)

It is a day to feast on memories made with family. Family is deeper than just being related by blood; sometimes family is being related by a bond. Whatever your family looks like, Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for them, pray for them, and enjoy them. God has put these people in your path.

Psalm 95:1-2 says, “Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord… Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving.” (HSCB) Thanksgiving is a great day to gather around the table to pray and praise! “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around,” wrote Willie Nelson.

If Thanksgiving tables could tell a story of this special day, one table might say, “On my surface, several dishes of food are displayed, oh how that warms me. Heavenly aromas dance in the air. The numerous members of such and such family gathered around me as they blessed the food, passing grandma’s famous turkey and dressing to each other. Their laughter is as filling as the dishes they serve.”

Another table may say, “I am not a table like most families are used to, but for now I will do as a table, as I am only a park bench. The man and child seated upon me laid out their Thanksgiving meal. It sure was kind of the volunteers to bring them food. They will only be here a few more days before they move into their new place.For that I am grateful. I served a brief purpose in their lives and was happy to help and realize blessings come in many ways.”

Everyone’s Thanksgiving will look different, but the blessings are still there. Sometimes, we may have to look harder to find them, but go seek them out. It is truly worth it, and your heart will be grateful that you did!

Most people have much to be thankful for. As my sister Dawn Godoy said when asked what she is thankful for, “Family, friends, and health.” According to several studies on the website www.greatergood. berkeley.edu, “A grateful heart is good for your health. Gratitude’s stress-buffering ability and known power to increase happiness and positive emotions may have downstream positive influences on health. And gratitude’s role in fostering and strengthening social connections may be just as important. A growing body of research strongly suggests that our relationships with others can have tangible health benefits.”

A grateful heart can change your life and remind you of blessings, many that we may not deserve. Thanks to an amazing God, we are here in this moment to experience a blessing. We are thankful and grateful for a lesson that we learned the hard way that helped us grow.

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on our past misfortunes, of which all men have some,” Charles Dickens wrote. Be present in this moment. Be thankful for the little mundane moments that now are a cause of celebration. In 1 Chronicles 16:34 the Bible says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.”

Today is a good day to gobble up some blessings. The Lord God has a great recipe for your life. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him.” Psalm 34:8