Thanksgiving is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. It's simple. A group of people who love each other gather to fellowship and give thanks, and everyone brings a portion to contribute to the feast. This year, we had a mish mash of friends celebrating together. Some people brought the dishes that epitomize Thanksgiving in their minds; others brought a new recipe they had been dying to make. Everyone brought from their limited resources, and everyone had plenty to eat. And since none of us had family in the area, no one had to meet multiple obligations in a single day. We all had time to linger in conversation, assist with cleanup, and eat some more!
There were so many happy moments throughout the day and so many exchanges that really encapsulate what I love about my friends. But the one moment that keeps making me chuckle is a brief conversation I heard just before we ate. Below is a paraphrase:
Courtney: Jamie, what's that Thanksgiving hymn that is only two verses, but they are long verses that take up two pages in the hymnal?
Jamie: Um, I know which one you're talking about, but I can't think of the name. Arrika, what is that Thanksgiving hymn that is only two verses, but they are long versus that take up two pages?
Arrika: Let All Things Now Living.
Courtney: YES! Thank you! Let's sing that one.
Observant Dave: Arrika, you just knew that?! Off the top of your head?!?!
Jamie: NO ONE knows the hymnal as well as Arrika.
At this point Arrika tried to downplay her vast knowledge of the hymnal and chalk it up to years of being a church accompanist, and I drifted away to help with the last minute preparation. But that conversation made me smile. It made me smile because I LOVE that hymn and had sung it to Levi on our way to dinner that afternoon, and it has been swimming happily through my head ever since. I loved the team effort it took to find the title of the hymn, and Arrika's ability to recall the hymn instantly.
And then I loved it when we sang it, - a cappella, in harmony - as we gathered around our Thanksgiving table. 10 adults (three sleeping children did not contribute; neither did the three disgruntled dogs in the back yard) just singing a song of thanks to God for His goodness and provision. It made my heart happy and my eyes watery.
This year's Thanksgiving was simple, and given my current condition (39 weeks' pregnant, thank you very much), I needed that. I needed "the usual" faces in a familiar place with the typical exchanges that occur with these friends. But the fact that I see these faces and hear these types of conversations all the time didn't make them dull; it made them seem all the more special. These people, these friendships, these conversations - these are the things for which I am so thankful.
our love and rejoicing;
with glad adoration
a song let us raise
till all things now living
unite in thanksgiving:
"To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!"