The most unforgettable Thanksgiving Day I remember was spent in northern Minnesota with my maternal grandparents. That year, Grandma and Grandpa decided our Thanksgiving meal would consist only of foods grown on their land along with wild game and fish.

In my recollection there was no turkey. Yet, the meal was memorable. My grandfather’s and uncles’ hunting pursuits yielded duck, pheasant, quail and venison. They were not only expert fishermen, but had pickled, smoked and frozen the walleye, northern pike and white fish that graced our table.

Sunset on Bass Lake. Copyright © 2016, Charles E. McCracken Archives.

Grandma’s garden bounty was on full display with corn on the cob, a variety of squashes, potatoes and a hot dish made of wild rice harvested from the lake shore in front of their little house. Her high bush cranberry preserves and apple jelly topped freshly baked breads we devoured with great gusto. A counter full of homemade pies and donuts made from scratch by Grandma, Mom and the aunts topped-off dinner.

While the food featured prominently in our celebration, the realization that God was our Provider and the recipient of our thanksgiving was etched into my consciousness in a way I never forgot. And that of course was my grandparent’s objective.

No matter how you celebrate the holiday, you will create memories for someone on Thanksgiving. The food that garnishes your table is important because it adds a sensory dimension enhancing memory. However, gathering together with family and friends to share a meal is only part of the celebration.

This year, couple those memories with a solid reminder of God’s provision of the blessings we enjoy and so often take for granted. The Psalmist directs our focus to the Source of all that is good:

PSALM 136:1-3

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever.

Many of the psalms restate God’s goodness. Take time to read a portion of Scripture to those gathered around you. Then, offer heartfelt prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God. The memories you create will endure.


© 2016 Charles E. McCracken. Repost/Reprint with permission. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1) Sunset on Bass Lake. Copyright © 2016, Charles E. McCracken Archives.