Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Burnt Rolls, A Charred Turkey, And Green Beans Cooked To Death

Traditions run strong and deep in my family.  Every year --without fail-- my mother burned the pre packaged "warm and serve" dinner rolls at Thanksgiving.  She would slip them into the hot oven in their little disposable aluminum pans just before the blessing was said, and sometime during the salad course, she would suddenly jump up and dash into the now rather smoky kitchen, as if she were participating in a 5K race.  Every year, the rolls became a burnt offering.

One year as the turkey was in its final hour of cooking, the broiler element in the oven came to life, literally charring the bird beyond recognition.

And always, Mom cooked a huge pot of canned green beans on the stovetop for days until they fell apart, her signature dish with which we filled our plates when other items were cooked into charcoal.

I always loved the Norman Rockwell painting of the happy family gathered around the elusive Thanksgiving feast, the father carefully carving a beautifully browned turkey.  My dad, on the other hand, wielded a rather fearful-looking implement called an "electric knife" and hacked off pieces of turkey in the privacy of the kitchen with that which closely resembled a small chain saw.

This Thanksgiving, we acknowledge God by saying grace and in extending grace to others.  But it is not just a matter of thanking Him for the good things He has done, but because God IS good.  GOOD is not a description of what He does, but Who He is, not an adjective but a noun, not a characteristic, but His identity.

The Bible also refers to "the sacrifice of thanksgiving," which I consider the basis of thanking God BEFORE the outcome, before I know how this situation or trouble or problem will turn out.  That kind of thanks is not a matter of seeing what is good, but trusting that it is and will be, knowing that He is good, and He ALWAYS works from a position of goodness.  On that you can depend, no matter what.  As we used to sing aloud when we lived in Memphis, HE IS GOOD!!

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend, no matter where you are.

O give thanks to the LORD,
           for He is good;
His steadfast love endures for ever.

                     Psalm 118.1

(In all ways, in all things)

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