Psalm 69:30 “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”

Picture it. It’s Thanksgiving 1994. A young 18-year old bride and her solider husband are at Ft. Bragg, and want to come home for Thanksgiving.

The young bride knows her whole family will be gathered together to celebrate.

The turkey will be big, the sides plentiful. Relatives from other parts of the country will gather at the big brick house in town. The Macy’s parade will be on, and then football will start.

The young woman wants to be there. She can feel it, and the longing for home is huge.

Her husband gets permission from his unit to leave town and they head out. They make it home in time to celebrate with both families, his and hers. Shopping on Friday is a treat, and then it’s back to Ft. Bragg as their leave time expires.

They make it back home in time to start a new week, but that visit sits in the young woman’s heart, a reminder of the values that she holds dear.

This will be my 27th Thanksgiving since I was that young bride, but the joy of Thanksgiving has yet to fade for me. The traditions that meant so much to me in 1994 still mean the same, even if the ways they get carried out have altered.

We no longer have the big house in town to assemble at. The family is smaller in number, the travelers don’t travel as far. But the joy of being together with my family, with my husband’s is just the same as it always has been for me.

Some don’t understand the value that I place on the traditions of this holiday and Christmas. My reasons are varied, but one remains — God designed us to be in community and fellowship with each other.

For me, that looks like spending time with my family as we talk about years past, and what is to come. It’s remembering that God has blessed me with not only the family that I was born into, but the one I married into as well that has loved me so well for two and a half decades. It’s giving thanks to the Father for bringing us through another hard year, and for being able to look around the table at those that made the journey with me.

However your Thanksgiving looks this year, I hope that you are able to take just a minute to acknowledge all that God has blessed you with. And if perhaps this year that is a hard task to do, I pray that you are able to look outward with hope that God isn’t finished with you yet, and you’re able to find joy in that reminder.

I pray that you find hope it the arms of a Savior that loves you beyond measure, and that you are exceedingly thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours. God bless.

Keri Hill is a chaplain. She lives in Canton.

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