For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14)
Like many families, we have lots of family photos. They are stored in scrapbooks, boxes, on my computer and on my phone. A lucky few are displayed in frames. Every now and then I dream of having my massive collection organized and narrowed down to the best of the best, but there never seems to be enough time. Besides, every memory is precious to me. In every photo that captures time spent with family and friends, there are expressions and gestures that provide windows into the soul and beauty of the people in them.
When my husband and I renewed our vows this summer, I pulled out a scrapbook that includes pictures of us from college, our engagement, wedding, and honeymoon. I had also included favorite pictures of our children and family as it grew from two to four. As I traveled back in time, I felt an overwhelming wave of nostalgia and gratitude for the gift of family, both living and departed.
We didn’t know our children before they were born or our new son and daughter-in-law, but God did. In every single one of God’s family pictures, we are all in it. God knows each one us because we are wonderfully and fearfully made. You and I are known today, yesterday and tomorrow. We will never be forgotten because we are all part of God’s family.
This Thanksgiving will be celebrated very differently for many of us. Our tables will be smaller and there will be empty places around it. We can’t help but feel the weight of sadness, disappointment and loneliness. Recently I was filling some empty frames with photographs from the past year. As I did so, I realized how many blessings I could count from 2020 despite the angst of COVID-19 and the unexpected twists and turns that occurred in my family’s life. I am convinced that no amount of disappointment, hardship, illness or social distance can separate us from God’s provision or the love that is shared between family and friends. In whatever way you celebrate next Thursday, may you be filled with gratitude and the joy of being cherished and loved.
Director of Children’s Ministry
Prayer Focus: Families separated from loved ones this Thanksgiving
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the blessing and joy of family. Thank you for loved ones who are near to us. Please bless those who are far away. May we all see the many ways you provide for us, comfort us and protect us. Fill our hearts with gratitude each and every day. Amen.
Family Story Telling: Take turns telling stories over Zoom. Family members can read from books, make up stories, or tell tales from their own lives. One great idea is to use this as a chance for the adults to pass down stories from the family. Immigration stories, memorable family trips, or those funny stories that get told and retold make excellent choices.
Turn your Thanksgiving table into a giant art canvas by making a Coloring Book Tablecloth Kids will be entertained for hours! Write or draw all the things you are grateful for.
Listen to this Lesson from the Sea to learn that shells, just like each of us, is made special and unique by God. Afterwards, read Psalm 139 in your Bible.