What are you thankful for?

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

Who will you thank during this season of Thanksgiving? 1 Chronicles 16: 8-9 helps direct Who to thank in all seasons. “Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.”

Thanksgiving should be a joyous time even when trials and troubles crowd overflowing plates with places to go and things to do. We become wrapped up in preparing the perfect turkey dinner, gathering the family, and other holiday ‘must dos’ that can steal joy and magnify weariness. Focusing on the One who deserves our thanks makes for happy hoidays.

Recently, my cousin, Jane, sent me a package filled with old family pictures. My mother and Jane’s mother were two of the eight children in the Ernest Baggett family. Sifting through the treasures, I paused to reflect on pictures before my time, like mother and daddy perched atop an old wagon drawn by horses and my grandparents with five of their children surrounding them. My mind tried to comprehend the seasons they celebrated without the conveniences we take for granted today. Life was good but hard in those post- depression and world war years.

Mama Baggett’s chicken pastry came to mind. I enjoyed many pots filled with the pastry strips she made from scratch and chickens she cooked after wringing their necks. She fed her large family and the community teacher who stayed in their home during the school year. Everyone worked in the fields and helped Granddaddy in his little store across the road from their farmhouse. Granddaddy Baggett’s years of being song leader at Harnet Primitive Baptist Church sparked memories of going there as a little girl and watching them wash one another’s feet. I loved singing along with Granddaddy as he led without instruments.

He would get the pitch and belt out songs of praise to the Lord. Oh what joy filled me up with family ties to the past through pictures I never expected to receive. Yet, I pondered over the family photos with wonder in my heart. Family members posed perfectly but no one smiled. What would my mother and daddy think to see my brother, sister, and me smiling and making silly faces in selfies we snap and share instantly? How thankful I am for seasons filled with bountiful blessings and smiling faces of family and friends. Writing this story with pictures of loved ones’ smiles seen all over our sunroom lights up my heart. Happy memories give gifts greater than silver or gold. Take time this Thanksgiving to gather your family together and take happy pictures. Take time to frame them and place them all over your home, even when interior decorators might suggest other décor. Making a house a home with memories and miracles abound pleases the Great I Am and gives peace and promise as we enjoy seasons of living and loving at home sweet home. The sweet spirit and smiles of family members captured by cameras remain in your heart and fill your home with never ending love!

Ending this story with a Thanksgiving poem by Helen Steiner Rice seems right ‘for such a time as this’ when many people do not give God gratitude and honor, seldom smile, and live with sour attitudes while missing many blessings from our heavenly Father and Best Friend. This Thanksgiving, make time to pray and share family memories around the table. Pull out old pictures, share selfies from phones, play board games, even encourage singing an old family song or favorite hymn in harmony. Take time to talk and thank God for everything.

And so at the time we offer up a prayer to thank You, God, for giving us a lot more than our share. First, thank You for the little things that often come our way – The things we take for granted and don’t mention when we pray – The unexpected courtesy – The thoughtful, kindly deed – A hand reached out to help us in the time of sudden need.

Then thank You for the miracles we are much too blind to see, and give us new awareness of our many gifts from Thee. And help us to remember that the key to life and living is to make each prayer a prayer of thanks and each day a day of thanksgiving!

Make this Thanksgiving a time of joy when you remember the blessings of God. Whether you’re joining a large family gathering or celebrating alone, it’s a time to remember the love that’s brought you to this season in your life. And SMILE…you never know who’s watching and waiting for someone happy to brighten their day.


By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.