Turkey, Stuffing & Sick Kids – It Must Be Thanksgiving!
The holiday season often brings a feeling of nostalgia. Along with planning how we are going to celebrate – probably differently – this year, many of us are thinking about how we have celebrated in the past.
I’d like to share one of my own stories about how we celebrated fifteen years ago.
The whole family was gathered together. In the dining room, the grown-up table was set beautifully, with the fancy china and the gorgeous glasses. The kids’ table was set up in the adjacent living room. The last of the food had just been placed on the island and countertops of the kitchen. We were rounding up the troops to let them know that it was almost Go Time for the big feast.
And then comes the little tug on my sweater.
“Mama, I don’t feel good, ” says three-year-old Nicole.
“Okay, pumpkin, hang on,” I say, brushing her off. Everyone is gathering around and they’re ready to sing the blessing.
Can I just deal with this afterward?
I take her little hand in mine and join with everyone in offering the blessing in song. This group, which includes my father-in-law who is in a barbershop quartet, offers truly beautiful worship to the Lord.
And then Nicole promptly vomits. (A lot.)
Here we go. Another year, another sick kid. At least she waited until the blessing was over.
Thanksgiving is often referred to at our house as Vomit Fest. In my twenty years as a parent, I’ve had maybe two that did not include a sick child. As I write this, the youngest ( the aforementioned vomiting daughter) is in quarantine. Looks like we’re right on track…
I share this story about sickness at Thanksgiving because it’s what’s on everyone’s minds this year. Plans are being disrupted because so many are sick or trying to prevent becoming sick. Some may have even succumbed to sickness and are no longer able to gather here with us.
Chances are that you have been touched personally by some illness. Maybe it was COVID-19. Maybe it was cancer, or diabetes, or something else. If you haven’t suffered this year, you probably know of someone who has.
At MedSend, we have heard countless stories from our grant recipients about illnesses over the past year. They’ve had COVID themselves, they’ve treated COVID, and they’ve seen malnutrition, disease, and death.
Yet… surrounded by all of this… we remain thankful.
Thanksgiving will be different this year for many of us. The gatherings may be smaller. The feasts may be held outdoors. The plates and silverware may be paper and plastic.
But we can still be thankful.
We can be thankful that we serve a God who is in control. We serve a magnificent God who can use even a pandemic to accomplish His purposes and His will – through medical missionaries serving around the world, through Christians joining together to be the church, or through enhanced prayer lives for those turning (or returning) to Him in a time of need.
We belong to a God who loves us so much that He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us.
We are thankful that our loving Father hears our prayers – for ourselves, our loved ones, and our world.
I will be thanking Him no matter what my circumstances bring – even if it’s another year with another sick kid.
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30
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