Like Thanksgiving without the Turkey

by Patti Richter

Some memories stand out within the annals of holidays past—for better or worse reasons.

I recall my first Thanksgiving holiday away from home due to threatening weather. My college friend and housemate, Rhonda, could not drive the distance to join her family either. So we hatched a plan for our own little feast on Thursday—the very next day. We thought to invite a friend from our Bible study group who would otherwise be alone. Kirk surprised us in return, saying, “I could bring the turkey! My company just handed them out to all the employees.”

Kirk planned to come early and hang out with us while the turkey roasted. Meanwhile, Rhonda and I—novice cooks at best—planned to prepare some basic side dishes and a pumpkin pie to complete the traditional menu.

On Thanksgiving Day, we set the dining table with 1970s green and gold dishes as the fragrance of cinnamon wafted through the house. Kirk arrived, and with a pleased smile, he handed us a heavy bag containing the turkey—still in its wrapping and frozen solid!

Our little triangle of young adults, suddenly subdued, must have resembled those well-known TV characters: wide-eyed, disbelieving Lucy; disappointed, slump-shouldered Ethel; and poor old Fred, wishing the girls had given him better instructions.

The disappointment of missing that central dish of Thanksgiving gave way to an abundance of laughter for days. It further provided an enduring remembrance of a holiday, and it possibly served to sharpen each of our critical thinking skills.

Although I went on to better success in the kitchen, I still have instances where a meal goes wrong. It’s usually when I’m distracted. My oldest granddaughter recalls one of my mishaps and still teases me if she knows I’m preparing chicken casserole: “Don’t forget to add the chicken, Grandma!”

The main ingredient of most recipes is so obvious that we assume we’ll remember it. Thanksgiving can be this way too—not only concerning dinner items but regarding the reason behind the celebration. Neglecting to offer thanks to God on the occasion specifically dedicated to this purpose is something like forgetting to prepare the turkey.

A wayward culture attempts to redirect our Thanksgiving focus by urging appreciation for those who serve us. Romans 1:21 speaks of this departure from acknowledging our Creator: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (ESV). Even worse, we commonly hear public prayers addressed to departed loved ones instead of to God, in the name of the One who rose from the dead. Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25 ESV).

One way to keep a right focus at Thanksgiving is by thanking God each day, not just at mealtimes but at every opportunity. The apostle Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4, 6 ESV).

Thanksgiving is one big opportunity to share our faith with families and friends through offering gratitude to our Provider. Let’s not forget this main ingredient.

O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth . . . You visit the earth and water it . . . You crown the year with your bounty. –Psalm 65:5, 9, 11 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at with more than four hundred published articles.

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Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: Does your family remember to thank God at Thanksgiving? Do you have a tradition on that to share?

Grace on the Golden Gate

by Christina Rose

“He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,  I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”  
(Psalm 91:15-16 NIV)

It was a blustery day in San Francisco, much to the delight of all sailors and windsurfers. I had gotten blown out of the water by gusty winds and could barely get my windsurfing rig to shore. (I had learned early on to take notice when the winds and tides shifted suddenly. One day in high winds, my mast had separated from my board with a tanker quickly approaching me as I was dead in the water. God heard my prayers and sent another windsurfer to rescue me, and I made it safely to shore.)

While I loved being at home with my kids, I was occasionally able to steal a few hours to myself to windsurf. After one such delightful sail, it was time to head home. I loaded my gear in the VW bus and made sure the camper latches were secure, so that the top wouldn’t pop up in the high winds.

I approached the Golden Gate Bridge and looked down to admire the beautiful San Francisco Bay full of colorful sails. About midway across the bridge, I heard a sudden big boom and the car shook. The top of the camper had popped up and filled with wind, making the vehicle shake wildly back and forth. I reduced my speed as much as I could and pulled into the right lane, struggling to keep the car steady. I was puzzled, as I knew I had securely tightened those latches.

This had never happened before.

Panic seized me. I envisioned the evening news, announcing “Gusty Winds Send Surfer Mom and Van Flying Across the Golden Gate.” I finally made it the length of the bridge and saw a small shoulder. As I pulled over, a distraught weeping woman came running towards me and fell on her knees. Fortunately, I understood Spanish. She told me she had been praying to God for over an hour. Her car had broken down, she had no phone, there was no walkway to get off the shoulder and she was stuck by the side of the road.

With how fast all the cars were speeding by, no one would have noticed her in time to stop, unless they were in the right lane and going 5 miles an hour like I was.

“God has heard you, I will help you,” I told her in Spanish. We put a note on her car, and I handed her my phone so she could call her husband. Then I gave her a ride home.

All I could do was smile the rest of the day and evening thinking, “God you are amazing.” Not only was I grateful to help this woman, but I got to witness how awesome God can be. He does hear our prayers and answers them in astounding ways. Of course I latched my camper that day; but God popped it open so I would stop and help the praying woman. He may have even made the gusts blow stronger when I was sailing, so that I would get off the water and get in my car to go help her.

“By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
    O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas;” (Psalm 65:5 ESV).

Grace on the Golden Gate – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced a dramatic answer to prayer?