Today is Thanksgiving. I have been seeing pictures on Facebook of Families, Pies and Pilgrims, Table Settings and all kinds of things connected with today's holiday...even Parades and football. It's a sweet day to be with family and friends.
For many Cross Cultural Witnesses, Thanksgiving will be a day quite different than what they were used to celebrating in the United States. Some may live in or close to large cities where the traditional American food for today's feast can be purchased. For others, who live in the middle of nowhere, they may have to kill their own chicken if they want a fowl for dinner. Some may settle with canned chicken breast meat that someone was kind enough to send in the mail ahead of time. (Been there, done that.) Today, in Lawra, I will be eating a "soft chicken" leg quarter (imported and you won't break a tooth trying to eat it), canned green beans...not green bean casserole, the other ingredients aren't available, my favorite Jello that a dear friend brought for me when I was in South Africa, and a pasta side dish that my sister-in-law sent me. So, that's my meal. I most likely will eat alone as my Ghanaian counterparts are all working today. My plans for this evening got canceled, so I will try to meet up with some Ghanaian friends after work. I won't have my family with which to share my meal. Colleagues live too far away from me, so sharing with them isn't possible.
This is the reality of a Cross Cultural Worker. At least, it's my reality. Everyone is different. I do miss my brothers and sister and their families. I miss my church family at Concord UMC, Wesley UMC and Cornwall UMC especially. Even though they are not with me in body, they are with me in Spirit. I thank God for all of them.
For me, and numerous people like me, Thanksgiving isn't about the turkey. It isn't about the pies. Or about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Or Football. And, when you come down to it, even though family is important, it isn't about family. It's about giving thanks to God. Thanking God for another year. Thanking Him for another year of life. Thanking him for another year with family and friends. Thanking Him for His Salvation, for His provision. And, even when the past year has been tough, thanking Him for Him walking with you, beside you, guiding you and holding you in His arms.
Today is Thanksgiving. Yes, I wish I were going to eat the white meat of the turkey today, along with all the traditional side dishes. It's a wish that will be granted in a few years. In the meantime, I will let all that is within me give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!