*Today is the first post in the “Dear Gratitude” project for November 2013. Each day in November, a different writer will share a letter to someone or something he is thankful for. Today’s contributor is my friend and spiritual hero, Betty Gail Jones, AKA Nanna. Thank you for sharing, Betty Gail!*
Dear Ajay and Ari,
It is November, and in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving during this month. Some years ago, as your mom and Aunt Kelly grew up and were married, we decided to make Thanksgiving our special holiday to celebrate family time. Christmas was always so busy, and with their husbands’ families to consider, it wasn’t always possible to be together, so we made a plan to always be together for Thanksgiving. For several years, we enjoyed going to Branson together where we played games, ate amazing meals and shopped until we dropped. The times were so special, and our memories of being together are precious.
Now that you and your parents live overseas, sharing holidays together and other special times are and will be a rarity. We are so grateful to see you on Skype and talk with you via the Internet though. I realize that your country has its own celebrations and holidays, but I want you to know about your American heritage.
As the name suggests, Thanksgiving is a time when we think about the blessings in our life, or at least should. Sometimes we get caught up in cooking and eating a lot of food and watching football and forget about that part. The first English settlers of America had made it through a very hard winter and survived. They had been greeted by the Native American people who lived in this country with friendship. They had been shown how to survive and how to plant and make crops grow. They were grateful to God for life and had a feast. The Pilgrims and Indians shared in the feast with food from both groups of people. I think this is something like you do with your neighbors who live on your rooftop. It is like you are Pilgrims and they are the Natives of their country. They have helped you and your family by sharing their home with you. You have given them gifts from the United States and shared holidays with them. You celebrate life with them by sharing birthdays and special days, and as they question you about your God, you can share Him, as well.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that should be shared with people you love, wherever you are. Instead of turkey and dressing, you might share Dal-baht and instead of yeast rolls maybe naan. You might watch some fut-bal instead of football. But you are blessed, and one thing should be the same – both you and I should, as the Pilgrim people were, be thankful to our God for his provision and love. Just as we share the table in celebration, we will also share the Source of our blessings with those whom we love.
Until the day when we can celebrate Thanksgiving together, remember that I love you and thank God for the blessing of you, every day!