For Thanksgiving, I thought I would bring back this post from 4 years ago. (And, yes, I'm still in the gaudy Christmas blog color scheme mode) We are entering a season of many things to many people. For all, it is a season of memories. For some, wonderful and pleasing, for some, times better forgotten, but unforgettable and impossible to avoid.
This year our anniversary, our 39th, falls on the day after Thanksgiving. If we had thought about how much trouble it would be to celebrate with a night out for dinner and a movie on Black Friday, we might have planned our nuptials for another day.
Every year I search YouTube in hopes that I can find a video of Captain Kangaroo's Thanksgiving show closing. I suppose it doesn't exist. He did what would not be done in this day and time. The show ended with the Captain, Mr Greenjeans, Bunny Rabbit, Dancing Bear, Mr Moose, and whomever happened to visit the Treasure House that day sitting down to a table set for a fine Thanksgiving meal. They all bowed their heads and prayed while a recording of "We Gather Together", sung by Perry Como, I think, played until the picture faded away and the parade started. Again, I'm sorry I can't find a video of that. I did add, though, Perry Como singing the song at the bottom of this post. You might like that blast from the past.
So, here is my Thanksgiving post as it was originally and amended.:
I wrote this post a couple of years ago. As of today Sharon and I have been married for 37 years, instead of 35 when this was first written. Also, as I am writing this, it's pretty cold out, which really helps bring back those days when we sat on the floor, which was pretty cold itself, and watched Palominos parade through the crowd in front of Macy's. We didn't see them in color, but they were pretty just the same.
GOLDEN HORSES IN BLACK AND WHITE
This is a big weekend. Always has been, but the older I get the bigger it gets. I've never really thought about it in this way, but Thanksgiving is my 2nd favorite holiday.
I remember Thanksgiving as being a much colder day back when I was growing up. Our grandparents lived just up the road, so every Thanksgiving dinner was eaten either at their house or ours. Most of them were at our house. We didn't have hot water, except for what could be heated on the stove, but we did have a bathroom inside the house. I didn't mind the out house, but a cold breeze made for a particularly chilly experience. I even remember my first asparagus casserole. It became an instant favorite of mine, but I have had none in years. Before dinner, which is the meal you eat at noon, not the one you eat at night, as I constantly try to re-enlighten my sophisticated city-grown daughters, we would sit on the floor and watch the parades on our black and white tv. The floats were good, but I eagerly awaited the arrival of the horses on the scene. Horses were all around us as we were growing up, but they still were my favorite part of the parade. Those palominos decked out in their finest tack were something to see even if it was in black and white. Still are, 'cept now there's color.
Thanksgiving has changed a lot. It is warmer than it used to seem. Nobody makes asparagus casserole anymore. We still have Thanksgiving dinner at my Mama's house. The bathroom is warm and now there is always hot running water. My grandparents are long gone. Pop, my daddy, has been gone for years now, and we don't get both daughters at home for the weekend. God continues to give us much to be thankful for throughout the year and the day remains one on which we can emphasize our thankfulness for His mercy and grace and provision. And I grow more thankful each year for the memories of Thanksgivings past. I'm aware that a lot of people don't have pleasant, much less great, memories of their Thanksgivings. I pray for a good one for them this year.
Another reason that this is a big weekend is that Sharon and I will celebrate 35 years of marriage on the 27th! Our life together has not been one that I would have written, if it could have been scripted. Of course, as boring as reality seems, my written version would have been far more boring. I could not make up some of the things we've been through. But we have been through, and we are going through, and that is the important part. God reigns, God leads, and God provides. And I am excited about where He is taking us. So, to my wife, Sharon, I love you. Hang on! The ride continues!
And, last but not least, on the same day that we celebrate our wedding anniversary, I mark my 4th birthday. For 53 years, I was dying. I lived a life that was leading to death, not only physical death, but spiritual death. As some of you know, I was born and raised in the church, I was active in the church, a deacon, and a men's ministry leader. There were those who looked up to me and thought that I was something that I was not. I was a leader of sorts in my church, and anyone who would have followed me and walked the path that I was walking would have followed me into death, Hell, and eternal separation from God. God has forgiven me for that. Well . . . that makes one of us.
Along about 12:20 or so the night of November 27, 2007, technically November 28, God sat me down and finally convinced me that I was lost. I'm sure He had been trying to tell me ever since my false assumption of salvation some 44 years earlier. He sure does love me and you! As I've said before, I experienced the absolute worst and the absolute best moments of my life there within seconds of one another. To be honest, I had doubted my salvation many times over those years. I can now honestly and joyfully say that I have not doubted it since that night.
I carry a lot of regret for those lost years. I wonder how much difference it would have made to those first 31 years of marriage if I had been the man I professed to be, if the Holy Spirit had been leading my family rather than this deceived and lost man. I think about that from time to time, but I cannot dwell on it. To do so would not honor what Jesus has done for me and what he is doing in me now. So, I am indescribably thankful for the great gift of salvation and the life that goes with it. I was born on that night because that is when Jesus gave me life eternal! I don't have to worry about dying. Thanks to Jesus, I'm gonna live forever now!
We all have a past. And, if you are reading this, you have a future. We can't do anything about our past, but our future, our very next moment, is a different story. You have a moment coming up. What are you going to do with it?
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1
Here's a pretty song you might not have heard before. I heard it for the first time today myself.