Monday, November 24, 2008

Only 3 Sleeps!

Yesterday morning on the way to church Ariel asked "How many sleeps until Thanksgiving??"  Well, dear little one, only four sleeps (three today) until we eat the yummiest food in all of America and celebrate being thankful and being pilgrims...  

Growing up, Thanksgiving was our big holiday.  We didn't do Christmas until I was about 9 or 10.  That's correct, people.  You read right: we didn't do Christmas. 

Or at least, not in the normal American-sense.  We didn't get a tree, we didn't give presents.  We DID praise the Lord that He was born and we DID have a big, yummy dinner (basically a second Thanksgiving, only with ham).

I remember the days of begging my dad for a probably included some sort of logic akin to: "Everybody else has one!"  "It'll be fun!"  "It'll help us be closer as a FAMILY!"  "We get to practice giving!"  "I REALLY want that Polly-pocket set!"  

You know, something like that.

No Christmas presents.  My brother's birthday is Dec. 23, and mine is Jan. 11, so it's all pretty crammed in there.  Finally, Dad caved, we ventured out on the then-foreign mission of picking a tree, and Christmas is now an established tradition in our family.  I think squeezing it in there was good to do before we started marrying into various other families, all of whom do Christmas. Even though we've started doing the presents (and everyone only gets two: we pick names so we don't all go bankrupt), my dad emphasizes every Christmas morning that it is all about JESUS.  The reason we celebrate is because in His kindness He took on a human body...something that should blow our minds every time we think about it.

Back to the subject of the particular way we celebrate the holiday: since there was no Christmas, Thanksgiving was our HUGE holiday.  It was when everyone came home, we had tons of other people over, Grandma got carried up the stairs by the men of the house (sometimes in her wheelchair, but we do have this precious picture of Sam, home from the Naval Academy, carrying little frail grandma in his arms up our stairs).  She always got the most comfortable chair, everyone dressed up, and we were thankful.  Thankful for each other, thankful for the holiday that forced everyone to come home for a few days, and mostly thankful for Jesus.  Our thanks usually turned to Him and what He'd been doing in our lives...and most often turned towards the fact that He came and the fact that He died...we were thankful for the freedom His cross brought in our lives.

The dawn of the McPeterHerd Christmas tradition has sadly meant the sunset of the set-in-stone Thanksgiving tradition.  Eventually, sisters had to spend holidays with their husbands' families.  People might have to plan on coming for Christmas, and miss Thanksgiving.  We started wearing jeans to dinner, even if make-up was freshened up and a pretty shirt put on.  

I thought last year was small, when Thanksgiving was my parents, me, and Amy (oh, and the Pakistani doctors...different story).  This year it's going to be even more secluded.

Elizabeth, Peter, and Glorie are headed to MN for dinner with Peter's family.  Mom, Dad, and foreign student Steve were going to be here, until Mom had an emergency appendectomy last, it will be the McD's and me.  No matter who's there, the thanks will be the same, and I can assure you our words before we dig into the turkey will again reflect on the goodness and beauty of Christ.  (And Judah might throw in a little thanksgiving for goats...he likes to do that)


Anonymous said...

Sitting in the tiny green office with 3 men, trying to hide my tears as you write about my Jesus and the love that He has for us. Wow little one, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Funny how different families have different traditions-- we were usually in the middle of nowheresville Florida, basking in sand and 70-degree weather. While the grown-ups looked nice, the kids typically came to the table covered in dirt/sand. Then we'd end the day with a big bonfire, and then EVERYONE was dirty :). Only after a couple Thanksgivings in KC am I realizing how unusual that is...