Sort of puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Though turkeys and pies, stuffing and potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy are certainly wonderful at Thanksgiving, or any time, they aren't the most important ingredients of a joyous holiday. Having our loved ones gathered together and knowing that each one of them is safely ensconced in a vital relationship with Jesus Christ makes thanksgiving a way of life and causes all other blessings to pale by comparison.

Perhaps this will be the first Thanksgiving you and your loved ones will find yourselves in a position of having to scrimp and save a bit as you shop for that special meal. Is that really so bad? If you have to cut back on a pie or two, does that mean you can't still have a wonderful celebration and end up with some of the best memories ever?

Not at all! When I think back to that first Thanksgiving as a young married woman who wasn't even sure which end of the turkey to stuff with dressing, I smile at the memory. And I wonder if any of our guests — all of whom we've lost touch with over the years — ever remembers that cold Thanksgiving Day in Amarillo, Texas, when they piled into a couple of old cars and drove out from the base to our little home for a day of feasting and football. If so, I hope the memories bring a smile to their faces as well.

This year, as we make our plans for yet another Thanksgiving Day, may we all keep in mind what really matters when it comes to creating happy memories — not how much money we have to spend at the grocery store but rather the One who has blessed us with so much to be thankful for, including family and friends and loved ones around the table … wherever that table may be.

Publication date: November 9, 2009

Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com) is the award-winning author of 30 books, including Valeria's Cross, co-authored with Susan Wales and published by Abingdon Press.

Visit Crosswalk's Thanksgiving Facebook page at www.facebook.com/iAmThankful.