Last Thanksgiving, I was in a reflective mood. Maybe it was the aroma of turkey wafting through the house. Maybe it was the notion of watching football without worrying about anything else (hey, more than one man has been inspired by a football game!). But I tend to think it had more to do with the simple realization that life is good, and I needed to thank God for it.
I pulled out my moleskine notebook and began to write:
“At Mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Got here early to help with the turkey and to do whatever I can to help.
“The front window is open. Clanci [Mom’s cat] is sitting in her condo as a cool breeze filters in. It’s 4:15 p.m., and the sun is going down already. A red candle flickers on the nearby TV tray and the Cowboys are up on the Seahawks 27-3 in the second quarter.
“The turkey is almost done and for the first time in a couple of years, everything seems settled, normal. At least as normal as life ever gets. And I’m thankful—not for normal, but for God’s grace that sustained us when life got difficult. ”
I wrote more, but you get the gist.
The past couple of years leading up to that point were chaotic. My mom had a stroke in 2007, and my family had several other issues to deal with, much like every family does. We still had other challenges to face, but Thanksgiving gave me some down time to pause and thank God for all he had already done in our lives.
I felt especially thankful on this particular day to be able to have a nice dinner with my family. Sure, I wished I had wife or girlfriend by my side for it. But, in all reality, being around other loved ones was more than enough.
In some small way, it reminded me of Rebekah’s situation. In Genesis 24, she was single and working in the context of her nuclear family. Abraham’s servant initially met her at the well, where she drew water. After learning that the servant needed a place to stay for the night, she invited him to stay at her family’s house. Rebekah’s brother, Laban, greeted them. Shortly thereafter, they sat down for a meal.
Abraham’s servant knew God has orchestrated the events of the day to make it clear that Rebekah would be Isaac’s wife. Rebekah already understood this, but now it was up to Rebekah’s family to hear the case.
Some believe Rebekah’s father, Bethuel, was incapacitated because Laban was serving as the head of household. That was probably the case, but Bethuel was involved in the decision-making process (see Genesis 24:50).
The point is life wasn’t perfect for Rebekah. Her father was probably in ill health and she was single. Judging by her reaction to the marriage proposal, she was quite ready for marriage, but it just had not happened yet. So, she was doing what I was doing last Thanksgiving; joining her nuclear family for a meal and serving them whenever possible. It’s where she belonged at that point in her life.
This Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll dine with your nuclear family if your situation will allow it. If not, find a family to break bread with or invite friends, neighbors, or other single people to your place for a feast. If you cannot find people to spend the holiday with, let your pastor or deacon know.
Wherever you end up dining, take some time to thank God for everything he’s doing in your life. He loves you and longs to fellowship with you.
Lee Warren is a forty-something-year-old single person who lives in Nebraska. He is the author of the book Single Servings: 90 Devotions to Feed Your Soul, published by Revell. Julie Ferwerda is a forty-something married person who has had a spectrum of experiences in the single’s life after divorce. She is the author of “The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love,” and has written dozens of singles articles for CBN and other publications.