“Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father…” James 1:16
“My family, dear God, is far from perfect. But they are still your gift to me. I am thankful that they gave me life and sustenance. No, they are not all I long them to be; but then again, I myself are not all they long me to be. Bless my imperfect family.
This week, as I return to my roots and sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table with them, give me grace to remember your goodness and perfection. Grant me hope and faith to believe you can and will align my family with the good and perfect plan you have designed for us.
Your name on our lips is ‘Father,’ ‘Papa,’ and head of our clan. Jesus our Brother has taught us to call you ‘Papa.’ I admit, this feels intimate, too intimate for comfort. It’s easier to revere you as Master, Maker and Sovereign over all. And you are. But for me, to me, and my family, you are ‘Papa.’ We are kin, and you are Father, “From whom all families in heaven and on earth derive their name.”
Family is one of your ‘good and perfect gifts,’ though the way we try to fulfill the vision of family falls woefully short of your vision. On Thanksgiving we will return home to offer words of gratitude, and to give thanks to you for the generous provision you supply. Yet the day will also be tense, and wrought with pain. Few of us will feel perfectly thankful for an earthly family that is far from perfect. Mine brings out the best in me, but also the worst. Deep sorrows and disappointments arise when we arrive home, shame from the past, fears of the future.
And yet we are still drawn home, to offer thanks to you for your gifts, your gift of a ‘good and perfect’ family, of which ours is but a pale reflection. That is why I call you, ‘Papa,’ head of my TRUE family, anchor of my identity, the One who showers affection and bestows tender discipline to call me and guide me into your ‘plans to prosper and not to harm me, to give me hope and a future.’
Papa, for what we are about to receive this Thanksgiving day, make us truly grateful, in Jesus.”