Thanksgiving is almost here, and I am so excited. Three of my four sons will be home for the holiday. From Dallas and New York City, our family will gather for the warmth, laughter and love of Thanksgiving. Our Atlanta son will celebrate with his new wife's family.
For most of my life, Thanksgiving has been about family and friends coming across the miles, in all kinds of weather, from however many different cities, to gather around the table and give God thanks. As people of faith, there was always a beautiful, special Thanksgiving prayer offered up by one of the elders, sometimes followed by the entire family singing the Doxology:
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen."
For many years, relatives connected for this mini-family reunion, filling the entire home with memories, laughter, music and love. Several of them were singers and musicians, so gathering around the grand piano in the living room, while incredible singers harmonized in song, was a regular part of the Thanksgiving weekend. It was a special source of pride and heart-warming delight for me when I was finally old enough, and musically accomplished enough, to do the honor of playing the piano for these wonderful family Thanksgiving sing-a-longs.
I have countless memories of going to grandmother's house in Pittsburgh, when I was a little girl, for these family gatherings. After she went home to heaven, my Aunt Ruth picked up the matriarchal mantle and began hosting Thanksgiving in her spacious home in Ohio. We still enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving feast, gathered around the piano that had once belonged to my grandmother, and filled my aunt's lovely home with music.
Through the years, as we grew up, married and had children of our own, we each would make/bake something to bring to the annual Thanksgiving feast at Aunt Ruth's house. I have a video of my twins sitting together at her piano playing songs, when they were little boys whose legs weren't yet long enough to reach the pedals. Whenever I stop to reflect and reminisce, or count my blessings, I realize that as the song says, "there's so much to be thankful for."
As the holiday approaches, I hope you will make time to reflect on life's many blessings, no matter how great or small. When you do, you'll realize that there really is "so much to be thankful for." Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.
Jackie Davis of Lockport is an experienced inspirational vocalist, musician and music instructor. Her column is published every other Friday in the Union-Sun & Journal. Contact her at email@example.com .
Somedays we forget
To look around us
Somedays we can't see
The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give ...
Look beyond ourselves
There's so much sorrow
It's way too late to say
I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth
It's so long overdue ...
Even with our differences
There is a place we're all connected
Each of us can find each other's light
So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though this world needs so much more
There's so much to be thankful for.
— Recorded by Josh Groban; lyrics and music by David W. Foster, David Foster, Richard Page and Carole Bayer Sager