Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Gifts on Repeat

Oh give thanks onto the Lord, for He is good!
Psalm 107:1 (KJV)


This time of year is always interesting in our family. First, after 22 years living in the USA, I still don't have a proper Thanksgiving tradition. I didn't grow up celebrating Thanksgiving and I'm always surprised when it comes around and the flurry of activity around me begins. That's complicated by J's birthday, which is always in the week of Thanksgiving. How do you celebrate the birthday of a child that doesn't interact traditionally with kids his age, who can't eat the birthday cake and will go ballistic if you ask him to blow out the candles?? I confess that after 19 years, I still don't think I've answered this question well. Then, in my Utopian fantasy, I want to really observe the Advent season, with advent devotions and advent candles and stories every day. Alas... One year we actually did most of a Jesse tree devotional and we even set up the Christmas tree at our version of the Thanksgiving/Birthday celebration. I continue to hope that I will get these traditions right, but as the children get older, I wonder...what's the point?

Thanksgiving/Birthday Gifts

This year, I planned to crash a friend's Thanksgiving dinner with a representation from my family. I thought this was a good plan because she always had Thanksgiving dinner. But not this year. So, on the spur of the moment, I decided to do something. My turkey skills are quite... immature, and so I gave the turkey a pardon, cooked lamb, oxtail stew and took out some Escovitched fish (a Caribbean favorite) that my husband had brought home the previous day. We celebrated our gratitudes by adding to J's previous day's OT activity, a holiday wreath, by writing our gratitudes on leaves for the wreath, and we ate together (mostly). 

I started J's birthday celebration by shopping for him and thinking about the gift that he has been to me. I have had the courage to show up and live out loud in ways that I don't think I'd have done without him. He has been part of my salvation and continued transformation. Maybe God knew I needed him. So I celebrated his birthday eve in the sacred moments provided by replacing his sweats and underwear. It's weird how full my heart was, walking the aisles in Walmart at 11 pm.

This year, I was able to ask J what he wanted to do for his birthday. This is the first time ever, and I'm so grateful for that. He said he wanted to walk by the water way. Walking by the pond at the end of our road might have been his desire, but we chose the walkway along the Hudson, by the translation. Our family walk lasted 5 minutes, until the Amtrak came by and J covered his ears and headed to the car. But we did it! And I'm grateful.

That night, Isaiah decided to take J to the mall to get him a new winter jacket. Our walk had inspired us all with a lot of courage, because a mall visit had previously been a no-no. But it was late and Isaiah felt courageous and off they went. Now, going to the mall is a boring thing to some families, but for us, with J? That was priceless. And it was a moment with Dad while I curled up with a book, alone at home!

So I'm grateful for the journey and the many priceless gifts that seem wrapped in mundane moments. I can't help think about Joseph embracing his brothers saying 'God meant it for GOOD and for the saving of many lives!' (Gen. 50:20). J, I pray that your life continues to be a blessing to all those who get you and that I will steward your lessons and help share them with others.

Lord, I thank you for your gifts that keep giving, especially the sacred moments wrapped in mundane packages.


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