I'm writing this note a few minutes before 8 PM on Thanksgiving Eve. A quick look outside reveals that the snow that started falling early in the afternoon has essentially ended, leaving behind 2-3 inches here in Oak Park. Temperature-wise, a day that started in the low 40s will wind up in the mid-20s a few hours from now.
A few minutes ago Marlene came into my office in the basement and told me that things are well in hand for Thanksgiving dinner. She prepared the ham this afternoon and she has the turkey ready to be cooked tomorrow. She is making two kinds of stuffing--cornbread (my favorite) and bread stuffing (which we haven't had in the last few years). She rattled off a long list of dishes, most of which flew right past me. I did pick up "Pumpkin pie" "Chocolate cheesecake," so I know we're well stocked for dessert. A few friends are coming over tomorrow to share the meal with us.
And two of our sons are home for Thanksgiving. Nick arrived from Samford University in Birmingham very late Monday night. Mark lives with us while he wraps up his final semester at Moody Bible Institute. And Josh, our oldest, is in Beijing, China, where he is teaching English for a year. This will be the first time our family has not been together for a holiday. It's already Thursday in Beijing, and we meant to call Josh at 5 PM our time so we could catch him at 7 AM in Beijing, but Marlene and Mark went to pick up Mark's car from the repair shop, and I was putting windshield washer antifreeze in the other cars, and we just plain forgot until it was too late to call him. So we'll try to call him early tomorrow morning before we go to church for our annual Prayer and Praise service.
Tonight Mark and Nick are here. Nick's friend Caleb Fields was here earlier. John Mark Edwards is staying with us over the Thanksgiving break. Nick and John Mark and Caleb were best buddies in high school. They called themselves "the Trifecta." When they are all together, their loud voices and laughter fill the house.
Marlene said she's got most of the work done for tomorrow. She's going to make the dough for the dinner rolls before we go to church. Then she comes home at 9 AM and I lead the Pastor's Stroll, an annual walk through downtown Oak Park that takes about 45 minutes. It's going to be around freezing tomorrow morning so we'll see how many brave souls join me. Meanwhile Mark and Nick and some of their friends from high school will play football in the annual "Turkey Bowl" at the high school. It's flag football but two of my boys have gotten knee injuries at the game in past years. We've warned them to be careful, but really, what can you do?
At noon I'm going to the YMCA to offer a prayer. For the last few years, Rob and Mary Gaskill and their children have organized Thanksgiving dinner for the 50 or so men who live at the YMCA. And I've been giving the prayer of blessing for several years now. Rob says a few words, I pray, and then they serve the meal. It's become a part of my own Thanksgiving tradition.
Then some friends will join us for the meal. Afterwards some of us will watch the Bears play the Cowboys. Marlene will play Scrabble while I watch football. Sometime in the evening people will begin to go home. And later Marlene and I will talk about what a good day it was. That'sThanksgiving at our house. I hope you and yours have a wonderful day. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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