I wrote this e-mail in response to the e-mails of my three daughters, who are planning our family Thanksgiving this year:
As I see your e-mails flying back and forth from one of you to the others, I am filled with joy. My grown daughters are planning Thanksgiving together! You want everyone to be considered, you want it to be a good time, and you are wise enough to know a bit of planning will iron out many wrinkles.
As you know, prayer will be in our plans and in our time together. And we’ll also need to bear in mind our Thanksgiving will not be wrinkle-free. If Norman Rockwell were still living, he would not choose our family for an up-dated Thanksgiving family portrait.
I will now jar your memories with a few recent times together. However, as we revisit these “wrinkled” times, we will also be revisiting God’s hand upon them. In the summer we attended the wedding of one of you in Florida. We had prayed for many months before. The result: We had more rainy days than sunny ones, but I have never seen sunnier dispositions. The little ones who had ridden in a car for many miles to play in the sand were cramped into one room of a condo where, without whining, they watched reruns and bonded through games. The wedding was moved from the lawn to a second-floor room, but the bride did not let that dampen her spirit.
In the late summer, your father and I visited one of you overseas. We prayed for many weeks before. The result: I hobbled through Scotland on two stress-fractured feet, but it was a great vacation, made possible be an outpouring of hospitality. And my feet made for a few good laughs.
One of you, with your spouse and child, recently came for a visit. We prayed before you arrived. The result: Our son-in-law was under the weather for most of the time and the three-year-old threw up all over the bedding and himself. But, we were glad to be together and everyone felt blessed.
Yes, I’m quite sure Norman Rockwell would not choose our family as one of his group subjects. At Thanksgiving will there be those occasions when the children fight over a toy or fuss when bedtime is called? Sure. Will every dish of the meal turn out to look like and taste like those on the cooking shows? No. Will the house that I will work hard to have in order before you arrive stay that way? No. Will there be some real laughs? Yes. Will everyone leave better for being here? I pray they will. Will God smile down on us? I sincerely believe he will, because, through prayer, we will have included him.
All my love, Mom
~ A.R. Cecil