A Thanksgiving Day Detour

A perfectly golden-baked turkey in the oven.

I think we all have a comprehension of what thanksgiving means and what it is. The standard definition for thanksgiving is the expression of gratitude, especially to God. But, I wonder if we really comprehend and grasp the depth of what we have to be thankful for.

My Thanksgiving Day did not turn out at all how I had imagined it would. I dreamt of my cousin’s Norman Rockwell picture-perfect turkey (this isn’t hyperbole!), my cousin’s wife’s chicken and dumplings AND her noodles, their hand-mashed potatoes, stuffing with and without oysters, and the varied assortment of this-and-that stuffed olives. Then there is the whatever else pickled-and-fine that my sister discovered to bring. Add to that sides of every shape and size—my family—and it is Thanksgiving. Oh! I forgot the bread pudding…sigh.

A perfectly golden-baked turkey in the oven.
My cousin’s Normal Rockwell perfect turkey from a past year.

On the evening before, our daughter became ill and it was apparent that we should not travel to our family’s for Thanksgiving. What she had, we did not want to share.

Thanksgiving day, my girl and I snuggled while watching movies. My dream dinner turned into hummus and raw carrots. Then hummus with corn chips. And popcorn. My daughter had a steady diet of antibiotics, Tylenol, ginger ale, and popsicles. I had a couple popsicles in sympathy for both of us. My husband went shopping. I don’t think he ate at all.

My daughter wanted to see The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. We watched this powerful movie about a tender friendship between two eight year boys on different sides of a literal fence–a concentration camp fence.

THAT was certainly not my plan for a Thanksgiving activity, but, it was good. Our day took us on a detour to get to a different perspective. Yes, I am grateful for so much. We have SO much and I am grateful! However, when the itinerary changes and it isn’t your idea or what you want, disappointment and discouragement tag along. At least they tried.

I had my list of thankfulness ready for the big day, but my list changed. Watching the sobering movie provided a whole new level of thanksgiving as I sat safely next to my girl while my awesome husband was out strategically shopping for Christmas bargains.

The movie reminded me about the suffering and injustice of the past and my circumstances were downsized, stat. Yes, I suffered with my daughter for her pain and illness. We had real fear when she couldn’t keep medicine down and her fever topped 104.2 degrees. And we all were disappointed to not see family and have our traditional turkey dinner, but our situation wasn’t a war or starvation or persecution or death. Thank You God!

Isn’t that the point?

I want to get to a point, where I live with so much gratitude, that my heart spontaneously cries out, “Thank You God!”

Today is Sunday. I didn’t get my post proofed and posted before going to church today. The message was on gratitude and thanksgiving. The verse is speaks of experience I’ve attempted to share.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Was your Thanksgiving typical or atypical? Have you ever had an atypical Thanksgiving that caused you to give thanks with a different perspective than you previously had?


  1. Hope everyone is feeling better at your house now. We make plans but they are changeable. I’ve not seen that movie but can imagine it’s impact and power. I read, “The Diary of Anne Frank” as a woman in my 30’s, not as an assignment in school. It touched my heart in so many ways. Anne’s words, those of a teenage girl, are so powerful. We are blessed with much to be thankful for and looking back at those wartorn times makes our modern circumstances in America all the more remarkable. Thank you, God. Always. Sending hugs from a safe distance until the “all clear” is sounded. Love, Janean

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