Yes, it seems weird. The first in forty-three years that we have not spent Thanksgiving with at least one, if not more, of our children. Usually extended family would be part of the gathering, as well. And actually that extended part did occur this year. Not with those in the town where we live… this year we traveled over 2,000 miles, driving to join dear husband’s family in Tennessee.
We are both deeply grateful for the opportunity to join our relatives this Thanksgiving. With three of dear husband’s siblings, and a brother-in-law, already flown off to heaven, having the remaining four – two brothers and two sisters – able to meet, along with one’s young grandson, and another’s son and wife, makes this holiday especially poignant for us. Only the LORD knows the length of our days, and as each year passes we relish the time together we have been granted.
I notice a certain contemplative stance among family members this year. A quiet pause, or a step away from the laughter and activity, as though watching and storing visual memories of this brief time. Perhaps the reality of our mortality presses in as one brother passed away last month, and we older ones are approaching the age when our parents died.
“But I live at high noon,” I declare, sharing with our nephew’s sweet wife the beautiful concept that “over the hill” really is untrue, especially to those who know God. Becoming part of God’s kingdom now ensures that “living at high noon” goes on and on… life never ending. I love the idea of living at the noon time of life forever, rather than being on the down hill slide. Evidence from those who have had near death experiences, or experienced visions of the heavenly realm, confirm that vibrant life exists there, the peak and prime of life at the fullest, complete as God designed it.
Gordon McDonald has written a book by that name, Living At High Noon, that addresses issues of mid-life. Over twenty years ago the title alone gave me courage that indeed there was light ahead when turning fifty threatened to unsettle me. Well worth the read and encouragement, living with Christ’s eternity in view makes dying a new, glorious beginning.
While most of our relatives ready to depart in the early morning to drive long hours home, dear hubby and I plan to visit here a few more days before starting our cross-country trek. Meanwhile, I reflect on the fact that our nephew’s wife, forty-five years younger than I, seems no difference in age. And for those of us who deeply enjoy the present reality of living at high noon, though our earthly bodies will some day have finished their purpose, our spirits will live on, not to death, but to Life! The Son is shining at high noon! With that assurance, and His unending care, life could not be any better! Yes, a new Thanksgiving this year, with eternal thanksgiving as well.