Thanksgiving Leftovers

by Jenni Key

November 29, 2017


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward

Seriously, if I’m not counting my blessings right about now, there’s something wrong with me. We just had a lovely Thanksgiving meal with three generations of family ’round the table, enlivened by little people in high chairs, babies in arms, and enough food to feed a small emerging nation.

I stood at the head of the table right before my husband Jim (AKA Papa) said the blessing and I clasped my hands the way my mother-in-law Rosella Key used to, and said, as she used to, “Oh! To have you all at my table!” It was a delightful, relaxing day, filled with small moments of wonder and lots of joy and laughter, hugs and games, second and third helpings. There was a family walk in the cool of the evening, and then back to our house for round two of eating which included, at last count, five different desserts. So if I’m not feeling grateful, there’s indeed something wrong with me.

There is something wrong with me.

Because as wonderful as Thanksgiving was—and as lovely as Christmas looks on the horizon—I find myself way too easily mired in the mundane, the everyday, and forgetting to hold onto that attitude of gratitude. Life rushes in and with it, the weightiness of pain of others, seemingly insurmountable life challenges, the direst of medical diagnoses . . . the list goes on. And it doesn’t feel like a “blessings” list. It feels hard and hopeless and I feel helpless and inept and unable to fix or help or even love well.

So I go back to the beginning. God. His Son. Being filled with the Holy Spirit. The hope of Heaven. And as gentle whispers and small lapping waters at the edge of the ocean, the thankfulness returns. A moment, a breath, a lifting of my head. Fixing my eyes anew on Jesus. Returning praise even for all the hardest stuff. And the “But God . . .” of it all becomes one more—and the biggest—of the blessings. 

Jenni is the wife of one, mother of two, Nanna to four and serves on our church staff as the Director of Women/Prayer Ministries. She just finished the last of the Thanksgiving meal leftovers . . .

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