Saturday, December 2, 2023


As I watched another Thanksgiving Day pass, I reflected on some Thanksgiving days of the past.  Despite popular belief, I did not attend the first feast with the pilgrims.  However, each Thanksgiving dinner in our family holds to some of the national recognized traditions including a roasted turkey, cranberry sauce (though I refuse to slice mine from a can), mashed potatoes, stuffing and, of course, pumpkin pie. 

I recalled one year when I had invited myself…and my family out to my brother’s house in South Dakota for Thanksgiving dinner. 

“Hey Ross!?  How are you?  What are you plans for this weekend?  What time are you eating? Ok…we’ll be there…see you then!”

I am pleased to report that he did not serve the Peanuts special of popcorn, toast and jelly beans.  He did however make me provide the turkey and the pumpkin pie.  We baked the pies ahead of time but not the turkey…that we brought raw. Unfortunately, as we pulled into his driveway, one of my daughters was so excited to see her cousins that as she rushed out of the van, she put her little size 6 right into one of the pies.  It still tasted like pumpkin, so we ate it…plus the massive cavity provided additional vacant space to fill with whipped cream.

One year for Thanksgiving, my family went up to my parents’ place to enjoy the day with family.  The unfortunate aspect of this particular year was the fact that my dad happened to be violently ill with a kidney infection and he kept walking through the dining room…while we were eating…to vomit in the bathroom.  I thought about offering him a 30 gallon garbage can that he could use until we were done with the pie…but I refrained…I guess I am just humble that way.

There was a year before Sarah and I had children that we again decided to head up to my parents place for Thanksgiving.  We had been contemplating the purchase of a new vehicle and a friend offered to sell us her car.  She even offered to allow us to take it for the extended weekend and test drive it.  What she neglected to tell us, however, was that the gas gauge did not work…and that ¼ tank realistically translated into empty.  We did not learn this nuance until we were between Little Falls, MN and Randall, MN. 

This got me to thinking about hope.  On that unfortunately eventful Thanksgiving morning, I “hoped” that there would be enough fuel in the tank to get us to Randall where we could fill up before finishing the trek. The interesting thing was that as soon as the fuel was gone…so was the hope.  There was no longer any hope of making it to the meal on time, getting the first slice of pumpkin pie, or staying warm inside a running automobile.  With the red Lumina stranded on the side of Highway 10, we walked several miles home to get a gas can and the other car.

When we lose hope, we risk falling into despair.  There are so many things in this chaotic world that we can try and place our hope in.  Yet, I am convinced that each worldly hope will all leave us hopeless and falling into eventual despair.  At some point we will “run out of gas.”  There IS however ONE hope that will NEVER run out or will NEVER run dry…and that is the HOPE found only in Jesus.    

At Christmas, we remember when that Hope first came into the world.  We remember the birth of the Christ child.  The Israelites had waited in hope for hundreds, even thousands of years for the promised Messiah.  Even during all of that time, the True Hope continued, because the True Hope is based on the promises of God.

Likewise we wait in hopeful anticipation for that same Jesus to return.  Though we may wonder when this return will happen, we need not lose hope because His returns is based on the same promises made by the same God.

Even though I may run out of gas…yet will I hope…in Him.

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