Over a banquet of delicious food, that would be consumed in a fraction of the time it took to prepare, I remember the time my mother began to say Grace for our Thanksgiving feast. Making the traditional Roman Catholic sign of the cross, starting with the right hand at the forehead, instead of saying, “Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts…” she began with, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”
This was different.
Instead of the predictable rote pronouncement over the meal, which, in truth, may not have garnered full and rapt attention, we got the opening for a confessional encounter with a Priest! This was going to be great! Within nano-seconds, the delirium of an emotional cranberry sauce was being set before us, and all we had to do was wait for a further serving!
Sensing the Eldorado of admissions might be forthcoming, everyone furtively leaned slightly forward in a most careful silence so as not to disturb the current stream of consciousness and therefore miss what might be coming next. Forget the turkey, this was an appetizer no one wanted to pass by. The mind still boggles at the potential possibilities.
Unfortunately however, mom caught herself mid-sentence. Thus, we were left hanging as the more predictable blessing was spoken over the turnip and sweet potatoes. Darn.
Even so, the lesson lingers. Gathered amidst hotly contested election results, football games on TV, and rich gravy set upon the table, reality reminds us that we have all sinned and have something to confess. Interesting as they might be, these confessions need not be broadcast to family or guests invited to partake in our feast.
But we do carry them in our hearts.
Therefore, knowing we have a Savior, well before the Christmas rush to commemorate His arrival, we eminently frail humans have enormous reason to give heartfelt appreciation. This gratitude runs far deeper than what we happen to have. It’s totally based in knowing who, and Whose, we are.
Imperfect as we must be, the Scriptures declare that, “Here and now, we are God’s Children.”
Yes. Even with skinned knees, dirty clothes, bad habits and spotty records, that Divine designation can be stained and soiled, but it can never be taken away. Ever.
For that eternal fact, infused within and yet superseding all proximate circumstances, we can truly give thanks.