Since we live about an hour away from “home”, our holidays often consist of short visits between three different branches of family who are spread over 50 miles. We’ve tried alternating years but frankly, I just hate not seeing any of my relatives on special occasions. Even though I don’t look forward to being so wrung out at the end of a long day {especially when I have Black Friday to rest up for}, it’s so worth it to see all the people we love.

With that said, our little family unit tries to set moments aside in the season that are just for us. The older I get and the older my children get, I realize how important it is to be intentional with the time I have left with them in my home. It kills me to say it, but if my oldest goes away to college I have only 5 more holiday seasons left with him in my home. FIVE.

I’ll be right back. I’ve got to go cry my eyes out.

Okay. I’m not better but I’m back.

Since tomorrow will be crazy, today I got up and made a big breakfast and we sat together and talked about the things we are thankful for. I wish I could tell you we said something really profound but in truth, the profundity was in the moment itself. For lack of better words, I was overcome by the hugeness of what sat before me. A family – a group of individuals – who for better or worse will always be connected by both blood and Spirit. Dearest Lord, why do you esteem me worthy? What other than the purest unmerited grace made you decide to entrust your children to a flake like me?

I’m reminded of a passage in C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Maybe it applies, maybe it doesn’t, but it strikes me all the same:

“And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing – not even a person – but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance. The union between the Father and Son is such a live concrete thing that this union itself is also a Person. I know this is almost inconceivable, but look at it thus. You know that among human beings, when they get together in a family, or a club, or a trade union, people talk about the “spirit” of that family, or club, or trade union. They talk about its “spirit” because the individual members, when they are together, do really develop particular ways of talking and behaving which they would not have if they were apart. It is as if a sort of communal personality came into existence. Of course, it is not a real person: it is only rather like a person. But that is just one of the differences between God and us. What grows out of the joint life of the Father and Son is a real Person, is in fact the Third of the three Persons who are God.”

So maybe what overcame me this morning was the spirit of the united group of individuals named McKay. That who we are individually is nothing compared to how great we are together (in my own estimation anyway.) And then perhaps the reason my tears still flow is that the ultimate Spirit – the love between Father and Son that is manifested in a Person – has placed a supernatural gratitude in my heart that I am completely incapable of on my own. I remain so very thankful God did not let me carry out the plans I had for aloneness. These people – this family – were not a part of what I envisioned for my life but God loved me too much to let me have what He knew I never really wanted.

I pray with all my heart that God will give rise to gratitude in all our hearts for the very simple things He’s graced us with. I pray if your reality doesn’t look like what you planned that God will allow eyes to see the treasure He has waiting there. I pray if your extended family is difficult, that you would love them even harder. You may be the only grace they know.

From my house to yours…

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

~ Ephesians 5:20

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