Gratitude From All Directions
by Rev. Tom Gray
In our dining room stands a solid oak dining table that my grandparents bought about 100 years ago. It has seen a lot of use, attested by subtle stains and marks that, for me, enhance the table. People I love sat at that table and the marks are theirs (and mine).
I remember summers with my grandparents, and my grandpa seated in his captain’s chair. He was quiet, but had a presence of authority that kept us respectfully quiet at dinner (most of the time). My grandmother was a superb cook and kept us well fed.
What I remember most were the Thanksgiving Days when our whole family, including some great aunts, came together with food, prayer, and fellowship. After lunch, we went together to church, where my grandpa was the Beadle (an obscure Presbyterian office) and the custodian. Then and now, Thanksgiving was and is my favorite holiday.
I am blessed and thankful, not just for the things we have, but for the people in my life. The passage of time has changed the faces around our table. My grandparents died in the early 70s, as did my Mom and my brother, Mark. My Dad lived into the new century. My brother, Steve, entered heaven last Christmas. My eldest brother, Ron, and I are the two left of those memorable Thanksgivings.
Now I’m the Grandpa. My family still gathers for Thanksgiving. One group of us here in Oklahoma, the others in heaven. I cherish the celebration this Thursday. I’m comforted by the promise of that future feast with all my loved ones.
People will come from the east, west, north, and south and will sit down at the table in the kingdom of God.