As we celebrate a season traditionally marked by harvest and abundance, and we gather around the table to feast, may I encourage you to look past the turkey and the stuffing? Past the pumpkin pie and the whipped cream and the way your waistband doesn’t expand as easily as your belly?
Look past the fullness of the table and see, perhaps for the first time, the abundance of people sitting in the chairs pulled up to it. See the feast of family or friends set before you, whether there are two or twenty pairs of eyes returning your gaze.
Allow the feast of memories you’ve gathered throughout the years join you in celebration. Above all, remember. Remember the fruit of your hard work, your persistence, your love. Remember when the hands and hearts around the table carried you. How they held your grief or your joy with equal willingness.
Take notice, with clear eyes, the feast of this year. Of days stacked upon days in which God proved Himself present and faithful. Do not wait for gratitude to arrive, but seek it. Stir it up. Let it take residence in your soul.
Remember the feasts of the past. Enjoy the feast of the present. Open it like a gift. Hold onto hope for the coming feast, the celebration in which all things–you, me, and the heaving, heartbroken world–will be made new.
This year, may you feast on it all. May you find yourself nourished: body, soul, and spirit. May your table be filled with the extravagance of gratitude and hope. And may you be wise enough to recognize it when it comes in imperfect and awkwardly wrapped packages.