Our Thanksgiving celebration came early this year. We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Salesman's family when we were on our way home from Hilton Head. A I prepare for a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year, it has made me think of an article I wrote at least 5 years ago entitled "Thanksgiving Came Early":
Gathering with family, leaves changing colors and cooler weather have made for some of my fondest Thanksgiving memories. The men set out early to hunt, the women put the finishing touches on the holiday meal and table as cousins romped and played in piles of leaves. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, and for as long as I can remember, has been my favorite holiday.
But one crisp October day, at our household, Thanksgiving came early. The aromas we encountered upon returning home from a soccer game could not be associated with the traditional fare: turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. No, our noses were burning; the stench was incredibly disgusting! My first thought was a skunk had been our uninvited guest. My second thought came after our youngest child opened the door to the basement bathroom where Lilly Belle , our dog, stayed while we are gone. Normally, I'd describe Lilly Belle as a cotton or snow ball. But Lilly ran from the room disguised as a charcoal briquette or a watermelon seed ~ black! Back to my second thought, "Dear one, did you leave your paint open in Lilly's room?" No, she had not. Not only was Lilly black, but her room was black. From floor to ceiling, of this once all white room, all we could see was black. It was the singe of smoke from melted drywall, blinds, and flooring that burned our noses. And the remnants of the cause of the fire lay in an unrecognizable heap on the floor ~ a hairdryer. A hairdryer that had been used before leaving to blow-dry Lilly Belle's fluffy fur after her bath. As the reality of a fire weighed firmly on us, thanksgiving came:
"Mama, I'm so glad Lilly Belle is okay."
"I'm so thankful the fire was contained in only one room."
"We are blessed to be alive."
"Lord, I'm so thankful that our home is still standing."
Gratefulness just sprang forth. The attitude of thanksgiving was flowing much like the Psalmist when faced with adversity. My mind went immediately to Isaiah 58:11 - "And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones, and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." As I surveyed the scorched room, I held onto His promises. I thought back about times in my life that I've been burned by sin and literally felt like ashes or soot. But glory to God! He gives hope of a watered garden in places of gloom! The unchanging God can take a parched life and supply living, changing water. Feeling the once sturdy wall crumble between my fingers, I'm reminded of this temporal life on earth and more grateful for God's eternal glory, grace and promises.
He commands us in I Thessalonians 5:18 to "In everything give thanks". I believe we experienced the "in everything" in this fire. Not the picking and choosing of good to be thankful for; but the evidence realized of knowing that our God is in control and that "all things" of Romans 8:28 included this fire. As we started the clean up process, I was more satisfied than having pushed back my chair from the spectacular feast my mother-in-law labors over each Thanksgiving. Satisfied, yes. Satisfied that He is allowing us on a daily basis, instead of once a year, to glorify Him by being able to experience a "thankful in everything" heart that only He can give.