Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Thanksgiving feels like just feathers


At grandparent’s day, our granddaughter presented us with a trivet she’d made and decorated with a verse from Psalm 118. We love seeing it displayed on our stove.

A few days later at church, a tiny one wheeled up to me blond curls bouncing and held high three pieces of paper. “These are for you,” she declared.

I felt a smile spreading across my face as I took the papers. One had various fall foam decorations, one had a pumpkin, and another (my favorite) had colorful geometric construction paper shapes representing feathers, which this young artist had arranged around a brown turkey body.

A fine turkey, indeed. Definitely refrigerator material.


I’ve been thinking lately of a classic Thanksgiving children’s story by Lorna Balian, Sometimes it’s Turkey, Sometimes its Feathers.

It’s about a woman who finds a turkey egg, which she goes to great lengths to facilitate hatching. Then she sacrifices to help fatten up the turkey, presumably for Thanksgiving dinner, but things take a sharp left turn and don’t go as planned. In the end (spoiler alert), rather than eating the turkey, she invites it to dinner. Instead of turkey to eat, she had, well, you know, feathers.

Now I have to say, that could definitely happen here. If we found an egg, helped hatch it, and feed it, I’m pretty sure it would wind up a sitting on a dining room chair instead of lying on a platter in the center of the table.

In fact, there’s at least one member of our family who will not be partaking of that big turkey thawing in the refrigerator. She’ll eat fake dressing made with vegetable broth and skip the meat all together.

Because sometimes it’s turkey, and sometimes it’s just feathers here, too.

And it’s feeling like that in more than one way.

It’s the first Thanksgiving of my life without my dad. An empty chair this year. I’m trying to be brave, but I know from experience, these first holidays can be challenging. Every time the tears start to well, I think of all that he’s left me that continues to bless . It’s not going to be the same, but somehow we’ll press on.

I’m very  thankful for the way God continually reminds me of the great circle of life  through the precious young ones like our grandchildren and the kids at church, surrounding me with new life.

Because yes, sometime it’s turkey, and yet even when it seems like just feathers, God is always there.

Habakkuk knew as he spat the feathers out of his mouth that no matter what, we offer God praise. He wrote, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Friend, maybe it’s feeling a bit like just feathers at your house, too, but join me as we choose to rejoice in all that God has done despite what we may have lost or what we don’t have.

On a lighter note, this year, I might even take a bite of the fake dressing. Who knows, maybe I’ll like it.

2 comments:

dbethandrews said...

Bev, this is a beautiful devotional. I remember the first Thanksgiving without my Mom and I still think of her every year when I serve some of the dishes she always made. Holding on to some of her traditions helps me keep a piece of her with me always. I hope you have a blessed thanksgiving, I am thankful for your good words and your encouragement.

Beverly Varnado said...

I agree about holding on to the tradition to keep them close. So right. May you also be blessed during this season of Thanksgiving. Beth, you are a blessing to me and I know to so many others. Be encouraged as you persevere in following Him through your writing and other ministries. Love, Bev

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