In 1990, after a couple months in Romania with no contact from anyone in the States, I felt homesick. It would be my first holiday season spent outside my homeland. As a team of missionaries, we wanted to make our first Thanksgiving together special. We had a stash of canned pumpkin, corn, and peas, but we couldn’t find a turkey anywhere. We prayed every day for God to provide our bird. He did, but not in the way I expected. That turkey, from God’s hands to us, reminded me that He cares about every trivial thing affecting me. I felt more grateful for the simple basics that year than I ever have before or since. That Thanksgiving, my team became family as we sat on beds and ate plain food served from cracked enamel pans. It set the standard for all Thanksgivings to come.
This story, from We Wait You, will be re-published next month in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living Catholic. It also appeared in another denomination’s magazine earlier this month. I’m thankful for that!
Our tradition, since we’ve been married, is for Steve and I to share our table with internationals and “widows and orphans” – people who don’t have family nearby. Every year, we don’t know how many will come until we sit down to eat. (I’m still not sure about tomorrow.) We tell the story of the purpose and history of Thanksgiving for the internationals. Then we take turns saying something we’re thankful for. I’m so proud of America that we have kept this centuries-long tradition of giving thanks to our God for His tender care and bountiful blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!