I struggled this Thanksgiving.
No, I didn’t struggle with the long travel or the extended visits, and no, it wasn’t packing for 5 people for 7 days, and no, it wasn’t the potato cutting for 31 potato-eating souls, and no, it wasn’t an issue with getting into the thankful spirit, and no, it wasn’t even the balancing of holiday traditions while raising little souls and feeding tiny mouths.
No; it wasn’t any of that.
I struggled this Thanksgiving because I was thinking about the next Thanksgiving.
I struggled as I wondered if those little brown eyes will sparkle in that holiday picture next year and if those little brown arms will rest on mine between the slices of pumpkin, blueberry, and cran-apple pie.
Will we be packing her little clothes and carrying her little, wiggly body within our arms?
Will we hear that deep-happy giggle and will we feel those dimpled hands grabbing for our noses, glasses, and dangled earrings?
Will we be passing her around, sharing stories of her growth, and joking about the days when she soaked four bibs in an hour?
Will we be uttering her name and admiring her tightly-wound curls?
Will she still be with us, or will she be gathered around another Thanksgiving table?
Will we remember her presence as we cut the turkey and sip on champagne?
Will we think about her, miss her, and even mourn her empty space as we serve up the pie and stir our coffee?
Will we remember her little, happy soul on her very 1st Thanksgiving Day?
Will we feel the hole of her presence, grieve the joy of her spirit?
Oh, what will the next Thanksgiving hold?
And as I thought and reflected in the quietness of my heart this past Thursday, I couldn’t help but think of Mary.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
I truly have no clue what Mary was pondering as the shepherds shared about the angels in the field and the heavenly proclamation they had heard in the presence of their woolly sheep; I truly have no clue. But I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Greek word for “treasured” gives us a tiny hint about the thoughts treasured and pondered by this newly-minted mom.
Treasured (syntereo): to preserve a thing from perishing or being lost; to keep in mind lest it be forgotten; to mentally remember and conserve.
And as I read those definitions, and as I thought about Mary, and as I thought about Thanksgiving 2017 and the little girl with brown, creamy skin, I was challenged to “treasure.”
To treasure the happiness of our memories;
To preserve the pictures in my mind;
To conserve those moments in my heart; and
To bottle up all the beauty of all the memories we made this Thanksgiving.
See, we have no clue what is coming down the road for us and our sweet girl, but neither did Mary.
I wonder if Mary stood at the foot of the cross and reflected upon that moment in the barn with her swaddled baby boy? I wonder as the tears streamed down her face if she thought back to those sweet and tender moments as the shepherds gathered ’round? I wonder if she took all those treasured, preserved, and conserved moments from her bottle of beautiful memories and gently dumped them as balm on her heart-broken soul?
Friends, I don’t know where you are and what you’re facing as you gather around your tables and trees this year, but I pray that as you move into this holiday season, you will bottle up the joy, remember the beautiful, and generously and intentionally conserve the present moments for ALL the moments to come.