Once a year, there is a glorious occasion where family members from all over the United States travel for miles to gather around a table, break bread, and share what they are thankful for. We know this day as Thanksgiving! This is a holiday that has always been near and dear to my heart. I was a little bummed to find out that this year, I would be half way around the world away from my family in a country that doesn’t recognize this day as significant. A week before the holiday, our missionary family got together and decided that the best way to celebrate this American tradition was to open our home and invite the our whole parish community to join us.
As we prepared for this feast day, some of us became concerned with how our plan was going to work. Despite this, we trusted that God would provide and take care of everything. It turned out to be a real bonding experience for our mission family because everyone pitched in, adding their own special touch. We divided and conquered the tasks by cooking our favorite dishes, cleaning, decorating, and setting up the tables and chairs. We even cleared out the entire living room to fit three long tables, as we weren’t sure how many people to expect. As the dinner hour arrived, people started to trickle in. There were greetings and introductions being said. I was a little hesitant on my end as I don’t speak that much German. But, as I was getting drinks for people, I prayed for a Holy Boldness. I’ve noticed that this has become a theme for me this mission year, stepping outside of my comfort zone.
All of a sudden, there was a loud clinking noise from the head of the table and the room fell to a hush. Amanda began to explain that we were going to pray over the food in thanksgiving; everyone gathered around the table as she led grace in German. As we ate, it was truly amazing to see God working through each conversation. People were so accommodating and did not let language be a barrier. During conversations, everyone tried to speak the little German and English that they knew so as to try to comprehend one another.
Although I wished my family could have been together for thanksgiving, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate and give thanks than with all the laughter, conversations and delicious food that I experienced with my new extended family in Germany. God continues to surprise me every day with the little joys in life and with the graces he bestows upon me.
Thanksgiving – The expression of gratitude, especially to God.