Thanksgiving leftovers and Christmas appetizers
by Martha Sparks
At a Rotary meeting, the week after Thanksgiving, I heard one Rotarian ask another, “How many different ways have you had turkey in the past week?” Usually the cranberry dishes and dressing gets involved in the menu for this special day of gratitude.
I always like leftovers because they have already been paid and prayed for. Prayed for enough to be fit for eating again and again. If I like it once, I like it again.
Kitty and I were planning to spend Thanksgiving Day by ourselves, days we always enjoy. A United States Marine and successful businessman along with his wife, a dietician of the public schools in our county, ask our pastoral staff if anyone in our church would be home alone. They said, “Bill and Kitty are staying home alone.
On this quiet “Gratitude Day”, we invited two special friends, Juanita and her daughter, Teresa, to eat with us at the Sleepy Hollow Golf Club. Juanita’s late husband, Bill, and I were little boys and lived together in the coal mining community of Wevaco, WV, close to the head of Cabin Creek. Tommy, a generous Marine and his beautiful wife, Stella, paid for our four dinners. It was a Thanksgiving Day unlike any we had ever experienced.
The memory of that day is one “leftover” that will bless our lives as long as we live. Thoughtfulness and generosity any day may produce a beautiful leftover memory.
Appetizers are already on the way for Christmas along with decorations, bright lights, Christmas trees, midnight shopping and rushing crowds.
I learned to look forward to Christmas during the 1930s and 1940s, was married in the mid-1950s, Elizabeth and Mark were born in 1960 and 1963, then Christmas became a time to go see grandparents.
We drove from Anderson, IN, then later from Decatur, IL, to see my parents at Scott Depot, WV and to Kitty’s parents in Urbana, OH, and spent Christmas day with each on alternate years. Kitty’s parents lived halfway to my parents. Sometimes we traveled after dark. That meant listening to a lot of Christmas music on the way. We heard Andy Williams singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and, of course, the always-enjoyable traditional Christmas carols.
In 1965, we were introduced to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” which we still enjoy from the brilliant mind and pen of Charles Shultz. Kitty and I sat across the table from this talented and generous man at a luncheon honoring him on the dedication of the Fine Arts Center at Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana, one of the most beautiful university campuses in America. We enjoyed talking with “Sparky.” I was president of the Anderson University National Alumni Association. I still read “Peanuts” every week.
It is so easy to completely miss the dramatic and life-changing story of Christmas, if things that really have little meaning for Christmas, entangle us. Read the story as written by a famous medical doctor of the first century. It appears in the New Testament of the Bible. Give special attention to Luke 2:8-14. Note verse 11 that says, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
One of America’s finest writers ever, A. W. Tozer, penned these words, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” We live in difficult and dangerous times, but we have the world’s one and only Savior and giver of eternal life. I enjoy the leftovers from Thanksgiving and the appetizers that lead us to great joy on the day we celebrate the birth of God’s only begotten Son.
Dr. William “Bill” Ellis of Scott Depot is a weekly syndicated columnist who writes on a wide variety of subjects. Ellis has spent 25 years as a radio and television broadcaster and as a guest speaker and teacher on college campuses.
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