Many of us will, after hours on our feet preparing a giant meal, sit down with our family, our friends and a few stragglers, and gorge ourselves; on turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole and fruit salad, bread rolls and jellied cranberry sauce. After a while we'll cut ourselves a generous slice of pumpkin pie and pile on the whipped cream. I know this is what I'll do! And I will feel blessed that I am able to do it.
But a part of my heart will be with the families of France, and the families of Beirut, that ISIS destroyed hours before they struck Paris. It will be with t he families of the students slain recently in Africa. It will be with all of those who planned a "tomorrow" with a loved one whose seat at the table will be empty.
But, I will NOT allow these acts or the perpetrators of them to instill terror in my heart. I will NOT allow them to steal my joy. Nor should you.
When horrible things happen, and they always will, we MUST choose love. I am not saying, by any means, that we should turn a blind eye or pretend these things aren't happening. I am saying we MUST choose love. We must be the perpetrators of peace in our lives, in our homes, and in our hearts. It is the only way to overcome.
As you sit down to your meals, with food purchased by your hard-earned money, prepared with love, and served with joy and thankfulness, let there be peace in your heart. Along with the traditions you have, perhaps of saying something that each of you are grateful for and giving thanks to Our Provider, may I suggest another prayer that is befitting for these times?
It's short, concise, and powerful. It is the way to peace; and it goes like this:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.