In the eternally epic Folgers Christmas commercial, the college kid comes home, surprising his family, and we’re left feeling a little emotional about the whole thing. Its this not-so-subtle reminder of who’s missing at the Thanksgiving Table this year. I think of a lot of people who should be here with me, but they’re not and I don’t know how I really about it. My dad passed away in April of 2015 and it would be fun for us to wear our Chicago Cubs World Series ball caps and talk about the season. My son won’t make it home from college, but he will be here in just a few weeks. My mom, sister, two nephews and a niece-in-law (Haha!) live almost 900 miles away, while other family lives even further. The best friends I’ve ever had in this world currently reside in Austin, Dallas, San Francisco, Dayton, Jackson Tennessee, somewhere outside of Atlanta, and Pennsylvania. I’ve only lived in New Hampshire for two years. It feels like home, and has for awhile, but it would be nice to see my old friends again.
I remember saying good-bye to most of them. Shawn we he moved to the Florida to try to become a golf pro. Dave when he went back for his Senior year at Stamford. Eddie when I pulled out of Kingsport, Tennessee. J.R. when I finished packing the moving truck and pulled away. And on the list goes on and on. For me. And for you.
I sent an old friend an overdue message this morning to someone. It’s a message that’s probably been years in the making, and today I finally hit send. I’ve justified not sending it, and honestly, when I stand before God one day, I don’t know if writing this and hitting send will matter so much. I wrote “We are part of the same family. Much love and prayers for you this morning from New Hampshire. 2 Chronicles 7:14”. For the past year I have dug in deep, examined my heart and asked the Lord to reveal anyone to me he wants me message. I ask him all the time “How can I serve you? Is there anyone who I need to reconcile with or make something right again?” It is the pursuit of my heart to honor God, and to walk this earth as Jesus did. We aren’t built to remain idle in conflict. We are built to follow Matthew 18 and to pursue reconciliation at all costs to ourselves. To our pride. To whatever.
I am quite sure not much angers the enemy more than packed Thanksgiving tables filled with broken and redeemed people. Packed full of folks who once harbored bitterness and anger towards each other. Packed full of people who hung up their hard feelings with their coats and sat down to steaming mashed potatoes and the succulent aroma of the turkey in the oven. Passing the plates of stuffing and green bean casserole around while the children are laughing at grandpa. It’s maybe not quite so picturesque, because love and forgiveness never comes easy. But its good. Cranberry Sauce good. Pumpkin Pie good. And the glory of God shines through these moments, and this is how you’re part of it. If you want to be. If you’re willing. It’s never easy, to find your courage, but Jesus holds the biggest welcome sign. Follow him, my friends. Follow Jesus.