“He is before all things and in Him all things hold
together.” (Colossians 1:17)

Where do we begin to express gratitude for all the blessings in life? For those who have accepted Jesus as Savior, Jesus is first in our hearts because He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (Col. 1:17). Everything of worth is in Jesus. This fact does not change when lives change; especially when losses, disappointments, and set-backs bring emotional challenges that blur reasons for gratitude. Losses in life can do that; dull vision and expression—for a time. Gradually it comes back. Not as before, but little by little there is a new ability to see the Lord’s faithfulness in times of change.

Thanksgiving is a time of year to ponder the truth that our giving God never changes even when our lives do. God is The Great Giver who is always with us. Facing life without someone we love means that grief touches us. Memories of Thanksgivings gone by and pangs of missing are real because of the beauty and joy shared while creating memories with those we love. When special occasions come and certain people are no longer there, apprehension can accompany the approach of holidays rather than happy anticipation. God, our Giver, sits beside us, as He always has.

God knows the tables of grace that we come to because He prepares them. These include Thanksgiving tables as well as the many kinds of tables we sit at throughout the year. Other tables of grace include the laughter over coffee with a friend, dinner with a college student who is swamped with coursework and missing home, breakfast with a military father home on leave, feeding a baby in a high chair as he plays with toys on his tray, and feeding turkey and stuffing to an elderly patient in the hospital. God is at all these tables. He is present each day and season of our lives; not only on the highlighted occasions, but every day. Why? Because God loves you and me. He wants to share life with us. That means the lighthearted days and the heavyhearted nights. Come what may, God is with us at the tables of life. Because He is there, His Presence makes them tables of grace.

There is much to be thankful for as I look around my life even though it looks differently this year because precious people have died. Yet bushels full of memories remain, which grow more treasured with time. What also remains is the embellishment of character woven into me because of these extraordinary people, and the gratitude for all the tables of grace we shared while we were together in this world. Faith in Jesus assures reunion.

It is my hope and prayer that this Thanksgiving season you look around at your life and consider the many tables of grace where you have been seated and the people with you. Some people may still be in your life; some may not be. For certain, God is still with you. May you be with Him, and sensitive to the year ahead and all the tables of grace where you will sit. Humble or posh, God is there. May we remain mindful that each day we have the opportunity to make a memory with God, the Giver of our tables of grace.

Lord, as we ponder the many blessings that You have given to us, may You be blessed by our thankfulness. In times of change or steadiness, be glorified in all we are, and all we are becoming because of life’s transitions …more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.