It’s Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, and everywhere else it’s just as truly a day that the Lord has made.
As I biked this morning, watching the sky slowly lighten and the clouds dress in coral-trimmed grey, fallen twigs and maple keys crackled and popped beneath my tires as though the trail had been lined with a huge sheet of bubble wrap. Sometimes the wrapping is as much fun as the gift inside.
Late roses are still covered with bloom—one patch white, then, further along the trail, another deep pink. The sumacs are turning their brilliant red a few leaves at a time. Across the road, a row of trees—I don’t know what kind—stands like young women dressed for a ball in their finest autumn gowns: deep olive near the bottom fading upwards into a dusty plum, the edges trimmed with a paler grey-green lace.
On this day, I marvel at the Artist responsible for all this glory and grace that lines the paths of our daily lives whether we pause to notice or not. I marvel, and I give thanks.
And then I return to the memory I’ve been pondering for the past few days, the memory that brings me back to what I'm most grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day.
It's six years ago now, but I still remember the pleading in my young niece's voice as she sat on my lap and pulled my arms tighter around her as though to emphasize her words, "Don't ever let me go!"
Though dearly loved by wonderful parents, could she, at four, already be feeling the universal human ache to be known and accompanied, seen and cherished, held close and securely loved forever?
I longed to keep holding, to encircle and protect her from the pain of the world and of sometimes feeling alone in it. But in a few short days she would be far away from me once more, and not even her deeply loving parents can keep her close—or safe—forever.
But here is the wonder: the Artist with the skill to clothe trees and clouds each day in a never-before-seen dress, the Father who extends to us the gifts of sunrise and seasons, wrapping them not in brown paper but in rhythms of wisdom and stability and playfulness, the Creator who shapes and sustains each cell in our carefully crafted bodies—this is the One who answers our cry, “Don’t ever let me go!” And He answers it with Himself.