Thanksgiving celebration isn’t just on Thursday. This popular holiday draws family members and friends from afar, for a merry observance of this joyous occasion that extends over the “black Friday” and on to the weekend. My Thanksgiving started with a hefty Thursday lunch at my sister Susan’s home in Palo Alto, California that lasted the whole day. It was a welcomed opportunity to be with friends we hadn’t seen a long while due to pandemic restrictions. The animated, incessant chats were interrupted repeatedly by urgings to come to the buffet table for more eats. We succumbed. There was a priest there, invited by my brother-in-law Mario for a second house blessing. But for some minutes of subdued, respectful prayers, the party conversations were exuberant and loud, punctuated by intermittent outbursts of cries from a super cute seven-month-old baby Julie, my sweet playmate that day. As customary, we happily took home food still left on the buffet table.
I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with my son John, daughter-in-law Natasha and grandson Eliott Friday night at Sundance restaurant in Palo Alto. After eight years, I got my heart’s craving – a 10-ounz prime rib medium-cooked with a zesty, lightly sweetened and spiced sauce poured over the robust and moist meat glowing in its own juice. Deliciously soft, creamy spinach and pieces of sliced carrots and broccoli more than just adorned the presentation on the side of the plate. My son made the perfect choice of restaurant. An old, popular dining establishment in Palo Alto, the place was full and quite lively that night — brought back fond and nostalgic memories of when my husband (now deceased) and I frequented that restaurant when our children John and Joy were very young.
With all the scrumptious leftovers from those feasts, I continue to celebrate Thanksgiving with an abundance of delicacies that fill my refrigerator at home.
As a matter of fact, Thanksgiving is also today, as we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent.
Thursday Thanksgiving lunch (Photo by Susan P. Veloro)
Prime rib from Friday Thanksgiving dinner (Photo by John S. Jacob)
I just came off the online Zoom worship service of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, where meaningful teachings and reminders from Pastor Paul nourished the heart. His sermon related the angel Gabriel’s announcement to the old priest Zechariah that a son would be born to him and his aged wife Elizabeth, and his son’s name shall be John, John the Baptist – John, the great “announcer” of Jesus. Pastor Paul then further explained how Advent is essentially “announcing” to remind us of that jubilant day when Jesus, our Messiah, was born two centuries ago – and of a day to look forward to, a date yet unknown but which will surely be — Jesus’ coming back to earth in full glory and splendor.
Advent is in itself a celebration of hope, because God incarnate in His son Jesus is coming back. Hearts belonging to Him will partake of the infinite joy that only He can give. Advent prepares us for this certain eventuality, the realization of the great and glorious promise. Despite the distractions, failures and misgivings of the world, despite the deceit of temporal pleasures and material gains, and in spite of ourselves – our Messiah is coming back, because He loves us so much and will never abandon nor let us go.
The restoration of our spirit back in the fold of God, is the restoration of paradise for us. May we be forever grateful, trusting and hoping in the wisdom and grace of our Father God who, through all our inadequacies and iniquities, remains ever faithful, ever merciful and ever loving in His divine sovereignty.
Yes, Thanksgiving continues not just with food celebrations for our bodies – but with nourishments for our soul – and humanity’s soul. Thanksgiving, indeed the perfect segue to Advent.