We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;“We Gather Together” – by Adrianus Valerius (Haarlem, Holland: 1626)
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the gathering together and the prayer of blessing over our meal. I have not always felt this way. In fact, growing up, I could never understand why Thanksgiving was such a big deal. Since I was number eleven of twelve children, every day was Thanksgiving (minus the parade and the football.) A big meal and a prayer of grace was nothing new. However, I credit this one small gesture of my parents love as having the greatest impact on my life.
Supper came around the same time every day. It was never a lot, but it was always enough. I am pretty sure that my mom gave little thought to her actions. More likely, she just wanted to make sure her kids had at least one warm meal a day. But, unbeknownst to her, the effort she put forth was fundamental in the training of her children. Even though the meals were always good, I think, for most part, we took for granted such a pleasant upbringing. After all, my friends did not have to be home at a certain time to set the table for supper. It wasn’t necessarily the warm meal, but the gathering together and asking the Lord’s blessing that was my steady companion.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it was seldom picture perfect and it never ran like clockwork. Conversely, I can hardly remember a time when the meal was prepared, and everyone was magically in their place. Typically, the younger children were scattered all over the top of Hornby hill, just itching to find trouble. When it was discovered that one of the kids was missing, someone was nominated to send out the signal. Two short beeps and two long beeps on the car horn meant that you better get home or they might just start supper without you.I cannot tell you the times that I was literally standing at a precipice, about to make a life changing decision, and echoing across the top of the hill, the call would come, “Beep! Beep! Beeeep! Beeeep!” Thank God for parents who cared enough to “gather together and ask the Lord’s blessing.” Where I might be today if not for that gentle prodding to “Come home …. Come home.”
Where I might be today if not for that gentle prodding to “Come home …. Come home.”
As we all started getting older, the seats around the table would become fewer and fewer, but the routine of a family meal never ceased. And the empty seats at the table only made the gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas even more special. I am a little young to remember meals with my big brother Johnny, who was taken from us during the war in Vietnam, though I am sure the older siblings remember quite fondly. However, I do recall sitting across the table from my, now deceased, sister Julie, with mom and dad at either end of the table, and feeling a part of something that was greater than myself.
Of course we have continued the tradition in our family of having our meals together and taking time to say, “Thank you Jesus for this food,” but we have also instituted a time of family devotion. We take a few minutes each day to remind our children that not only do we love and care for them, but Jesus loves them too. It is my prayer, that when my children face these cross roads, and life changing decisions, they will hear their Saviour calling them to “Come home!” And, now that we have fewer chairs and less chatter around the supper table, our yearly gatherings become more and more anticipated.
So to all of my children, both here and scattered abroad, I am sending out this signal!
Beep! Beep! …. Beeeep! Beeeep! We love you and we want you to come home!