The First Thanksgiving


It was the first Thanksgiving after my parents’ divorce. My husband and I arrived at my dad’s new apartment with our toddler son in tow. A turkey was already thawing in the sink of the galley kitchen. As the only female present, head chef duties for our Thanksgiving dinner fell to me. One big problem, I had no experience in this role. I knew how to assist my mom and mother-in-law in the kitchen. But to take charge and to have full responsibility for this once a year shot at meal perfection was daunting.  I had no choice. I went to work. The first task was that expensive turkey my dad complained about. I read the fine print only to discover that he bought a pre-stuffed turkey. Back in the freezer it went until the proper time for baking. (We still laugh about this mishap years later!) I didn’t cut corners. We had the full Thanksgiving meal experience. All these years later, I don’t remember the details anymore, but I think that simply means that everything went well and as expected. We had more food than we could possibly eat. We ate too much. We munched on leftovers for days. I remember this particular Thanksgiving as the transition for when I became the “mom” of the kitchen for family holidays. I learned the fine art of timing, because really that’s what the Thanksgiving meal is all about from a pure mechanics standpoint. Get it on the table: baked, warm and everything done at the same time. Sit back and enjoy the food and the company. I’m sure our prayers for that first Thanksgiving included thanks for life going on after setbacks, the importance of family and those joining you at the dinner table and that unexpected detours in life can still be good. There was one more prayer request, at least on my mind. I quietly uttered a prayer between God and me, “Please don’t let anyone get sick from my cooking.” And God granted my request filling me with even more Thanksgiving.


1 Chronicles 4:10

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”  And God granted his request. 


Psalm 69:30

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.


10 thoughts on “The First Thanksgiving

    • Donna, That first Thanksgiving was a wonderful reminder that Thanksgiving is not about our surroundings or our circumstances. We didn’t have much space for anything in my dad’s teeny tiny apartment! Thanksgiving is about people, relationships and foremost, gratitude to God for the many blessings He brings into our lives all year long!


  1. That was a very well written article and I enjoyed it. That really was a First Thanksgiving for you. There are moments in life when we are struck with some powerful, new reality and we have to decide if we are up to the moment. That couldn’t have been an easy day, but I can see that you handled it with strength.


    • Ginene, I am still learning to embrace challenges! With God’s help, I can even feel some excitement for a new adventure beginning. I loved how you summed up the lesson learned in your comment! 🙂


  2. Hello there!! What a great story. I’m sure you’re a super-pro now and those early days are long and gone. Thank you for sharing some of your memories today. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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