Millions of Americans are on the move right now. It's part of the annual Thanksgiving migration. They'll get to experience turkey on the table and turkeys in those traffic jams! And the President pardons two.
A friend said they’ve baked ten pies. Tons of folks will watch Macy's big balloons - and then later feel like one of those balloons after pigging out. And the day after, stores will be stormed with people that camped out in parking lots just so they could get that coveted Black Friday bargain.
However, I'm thinking about the people who aren't here this Thanksgiving. Like family and friends who have slipped into eternity. Their passing has reminded me of my own mortality - and, in some cases, how quickly it can all be over.
Doing Thanksgiving against that backdrop has made one word loom very big - cherish. "Cherish" means to "hold dear; treat with tenderness and affection; to keep or guard carefully; to make much of."
This Thanksgiving weekend, remembering how fragile life is and how close eternity is, I'm cherishing my dear ones. I always love them, but I'm thinking more about what it means to "hold them dear," to "treat them with tenderness and affection," to "make much of them."
I have so many blessings and kindnesses to thank them for, and strong points to affirm in them. And also some things to apologize for. To cherish someone is, as God says, to "live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us" (Ephesians 5:2). Cherishing - giving me up for them.
I'm cherishing my days a little more, too. Like the Bible says to do in Psalm 90:10, 12. "Our days...quickly pass, and we fly away...Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Weeks, months, and years, just seem to fly off the calendar. Right? I'm pretty sure there are only about 100 days now between Christmases. There are just zero days to waste. Each new day is a treasure from God to be invested, not just spent. I need to sit with Him before I hear any other voices and find out His desires for this day, "the day," the Bible says, "the Lord has made" (Psalm 118:24).
One other "cherish" for me this Thanksgiving - my destination. Heaven seems a little closer with each friend or loved one who goes there. It's the place Jesus said He was going Home to prepare for those who belong to Him. All the earth-stuff that we cling to so tightly is just so trivial. Because the Bible says "our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20) and we're really, it says, "aliens and strangers in the world" (1 Peter 2:11). This isn't home. It's Hotel Earth.
When I've been away, I love to come home. But after all is said and done, home isn't so much the place; it's the person I love who's waiting for me there. Knowing each day I'm one day closer to eternity, I am cherishing the eternal destination Jesus made possible. But it cost Him His life! He made it possible by His awful death, but His awesome resurrection. Sure, it’s an awesome place, but it’s because the One who loves me - like nobody loves me - is waiting for me there.
I can't put into words the peace there is in knowing beyond any shadow of a doubt that I am going to heaven when I die. Not because of anything I've done, but because of what Jesus did on the cross. Wouldn't you like that peace, that assurance, that security?
I'd love to point your way home. I invite you to visit ANewStory.com, for how to find that peace.
Home for this Thanksgiving? Home is a relationship you were made for and the love you were made to experience. His name is Jesus. So, this Thanksgiving, come on home.
Originally published November 21, 2012 as "Thanksgiving Goodbyes"