Last year, I was putting the turkey in the oven when it hit me afresh. This was always my dad’s job. My eyes brimmed quickly and waves of missing him swept over me.
My dad wasn’t the cook in the family, but there were two things he faithfully prepared: blueberry pancakes on Sunday mornings before church (thus the reason our family was always a tad late!), and the turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
In 2000 he was diagnosed with lymphoma, which six years later went to his brain. In the final four years of his life, he directed the cooking of the turkey from his wheelchair. Well, actually, he didn’t have the mental capacity the last two years, but I would wheel him into the kitchen and tell him that he was “in charge” as I worked away. As he watched me from his wheelchair, he would nod off to sleep, but wake up and smile at me every little bit.
Perhaps your table has a few empty spots this year. I’ve found encouragement in the Apostle Paul’s description of death and I hope you will, too:
[box]For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.
Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:1–8)
It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him . . . (2 Timothy 2:11)[/box]
I find great joy knowing that all who know and love Christ will one day be having the most glorious praise and worship service together! Death will be a distant memory; we will all be more fully alive than anything we’ve ever experienced. There will be no more sorrow for empty places, there will only be joy that we are united in the presence of our great and redeeming God.
That is the great Thanksgiving Day I’m living for!
[box]After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God . . .”
And a voice came from the throne, saying,
“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.
He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written,
“KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
(Revelation 19:1, 5–7, 11–14, 16)[/box]
I will be there. Will you? If you’re not sure, please click here to read this post today.