We had ice cream sundaes instead of turkey for Thanksgiving this year. With my dad in the middle of chemo treatments, a sister who got her wisdom teeth out on Wednesday, and a mom with food intolerances, our Thanksgiving feast consisted of veggie soup and ice cream sundaes. I thought I would miss the turkey, the stuffing, and the pies (oh the pies), but I really didn’t. I thought the smell of roasted turkey wafting through the house and the sizzle of gravy popping on the stove would be missed, but it wasn’t. I was inadvertently equating Thanksgiving with the smells and tastes of the food we typically prepare, but this year was a great reminder that Thanksgiving is all about the people AT the table, not the food ON the table.

Even though it wasn’t a traditional Thanksgiving meal, we “received our food with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46), thankful for the time spent together as a family. Thankful for the laughter we shared (my sister’s post-wisdom-teeth-removal videos were highly entertaining). Thankful for doctors who are willing to work on Thanksgiving Day so cancer treatments can continue. Thankful for sprinkles that turn your ice cream into a rainbow. And ultimately thankful that we serve Jehovah-Rapha, the God Who Heals.

So while our Thanksgiving Day looked different than in years past, it was still a day of eating, lounging (we even napped after the big meal), and most importantly, savoring the company of those around us. We may have started a new tradition of ice cream sundaes on Thanksgiving, but one holiday ritual that will never change is the tradition of not only enjoying the food on the table but cherishing the people sitting around the table with us.

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