In Everything…..


Steve Nauman

Once again we made it to Thanksgiving week!

I know many would say that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday of the whole year….. family, friends, food, football! And don’t forget the day after Thanksgiving! Personally, I try to never go to any store on that day….. I know that millions of people love it….. I guess….. but it sure doesn’t do anything for me!

I remember some childhood Thanksgivings. We would have an informal church service in the morning, and it was open to ”deer hunters” as well. It was usually a time of testimonies of “thanksgiving” and a short message from a “special” speaker. But one of my fondest memories was when we arrived home and walked in the front door, because we were greeted by the unforgettable aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven!

Over the next couple of hours as the other foods were prepared, it would make the “smells of Thanksgiving” complete…… then other relatives and guests would arrive. Soon, the large dining room table would be full with the adults and big kids, while the smaller children would be just behind us at a small table in the kitchen.

There were also a few times when an early snowfall provided a Thanksgiving afternoon of outdoor fun! We would ride the toboggans and sleds down the big hill-just across the road from our house. It was a pretty steep grade, so once we had some “paths” made, you could really get up some speed going down that hill! (But the walk back up, got a little slower each time!)

One Thanksgiving evening a missionary couple stopped by to visit my parents and have some pie and coffee. (Every time I see pumpkin pie I remember this story) Everyone but the missionary couple and my parents (and myself) had left the table, I remained because I like pie and coffee and I always enjoyed listening to “stories”!

This missionary was named George, and when his piece of pumpkin pie was placed in front of him, he reached for the salt shaker and just about made the piece of pie white with salt! (I stared in amazement and thought, what a way to ruin a piece of pie!) I could tell my father couldn’t believe it either and he said: “George, what are you going to do when the doctor tells you to stop eating salt?” George thought for a moment and then looked at my father and said: “I’ll quit eating pumpkin pie.”

Those are some of my Thanksgiving memories from almost 50 years ago. There are probably a few things that are still the same for a few families…. but things do change…..

This Thanksgiving, I’m thinking about the ones who no longer have the Thanksgiving they had always known. Because this year there will be a very noticeable “empty chair” at their table, and some broken hearts filling the other chairs….. Oh, they’ll do their best to “press on”, as many of us have, trying to make it through, and figure out what “normal” might look like next year…..

Having gone through grief, I know Thanksgiving can be a tough one. Then at this time of year-especially, we usually hear: “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In everything….. and it’s hard to even see beyond that empty chair…..   Yet, it says “in everything”….. but we don’t have to be thankful for the broken, sinful world that caused the empty chair.

Maybe if we focus on the time we did have with whoever occupied that chair-whether a young life of just a few years, or someone God allowed us to love for many years…..

It takes work and it’s different for everyone, but God comforts and heals the broken-hearted. Having been there….. I’m thankful!
Even when my faith was weak and I felt like I was broken…..He promised and proved He would never leave me or forsake me. I’m thankful!

”Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Psalm 30:5b (NLT)

I have a lot to be thankful for…..

We all do…..

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.