from theDesk of…

by Carolyn Knaggs, Commissioner –

Thanksgiving is evidently in the air! In my mail today, the magazines featured enticing recipes for the most delicious way to bake a turkey and prepare the fixings, along with a multitude of beautiful options for table decorations with matching linens and candles.

Jim and I have for many years invited as many people as we had chairs to our home to share in the joy of this day. When I remember the late night preparations and the early morning ritual of stuffing the turkey, a smile comes to my face. We love to create delicious dishes to please the palettes of our guests. We cherish these special moments—Thanksgiving and food, family and friends…a perfect day.

A few years ago we participated in a community Thanksgiving dinner, where we invited members of our town to come to the corps for dinner. The prerequisite was simply this: come and enjoy dinner with someone. There were no strings attached or obligations to eating with us. Volunteers, restaurant owners and soldiers joined hands together to make this occasion—Thanksgiving—a time when they would give of themselves to make someone’s day a happy one.

We had a grand scheme for all of our volunteers to have a meaningful responsibility. Some individuals were the greeters at the front door, others were waiters and still others were hostesses, each assigned to a specific table. We encouraged some to be responsible for keeping the serving lines full of good food while others gladly were on trash patrol and clean-up duty for those occasional spills.

As it happened, a gentleman arrived at mealtime and was escorted to his table by a greeter and then introduced to the woman who would serve his dinner. To their utter surprise, this volunteer was the daughter of the gentleman guest.

The woman volunteer had lost contact with her father many years ago and often wondered if he was no longer on this earth. On this particular year, she decided that she wanted to serve dinner to those in the community who maybe were alone—by this gesture, she felt that she would be acting in love toward her long lost, missing father.

We saw this reunion happen. We saw each melt into the other’s arms. We saw a miracle on this Thanksgiving Day. A father and a daughter sat together for the first time in years and shared a meal. Connection was re-established and hope given a spark of life.

Our Lord seeks those who are lost. He pursues us and wants to share his love with us. He waits for us and then embraces us with joy when we receive his gift of salvation.

We are encouraged in Psalm 95:2: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

This year as you sit around your Thanksgiving table—whether in your home or a corps activity room—lift your voice of thanksgiving to the Lord for the blessings of living in a free country. We can praise him for the provision that is given to us through his Spirit. He offers us joy and comfort and forgiveness. He reminds us in his word that he alone has stepped in to take our place for the payment of our sin against God and each other. We can lift our voices in thanksgiving because he will always be faithful to us. We can rejoice that we are his children and that we are loved.

May the Lord shower you with memory of the blessings of this past year and we pray that your heart will overflow with thanksgiving to him.

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