As the real meaning of Christmas gets buried under piles of cookies and gifts, the joy of Thanksgiving is preserved through storytelling. These stories have been told and retold and have grown larger than life. Just like wine and cheese, our stories get better with age! As I gaze around the table, I am thankful for the storytellers and for the mischievous ones who star in them. These stories remind me to whisper a simple ‘thank you’. For me, Thanksgiving is not running to the mall but lingering around the table sharing stories.

My father-in-law tells great stories and can weave a tale. If you listen carefully, you may hear some bits of truth. Our classic Thanksgiving stories are mostly about hunting and football since both are in season in late November. A must-tell is the ‘Shootout at the OK Corral’ story; a deer hunting story where the number of dead deer outnumbers the hunters. (I never said these stories involved legal activities.) It is always a crowd pleaser and signals Thanksgiving has officially arrived. Another favorite is the ‘Forearm Shiver’ football story involving a car’s broken windshield. Funny stuff.

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Over the years,  we have expanded our repertoire to include stories about fire. Who doesn’t enjoy stories about setting things on fire and then panicking to put them out? Let’s keep telling these belly busters! Let’s keep passing them down!  Storytelling strengthens our family bonds. Storytelling is life preservation.

I love hearing these same stories, year after year. Why? Their familiarity comforts me deep in my soul.  I am thankful to be part of these crazy family stories. They say I have a place; I belong. Not everyone can say that. Yes, I am thankful. I know the endings to all the stories, but I still love hearing them. Tell me again!

As I read God’s Word, year after year, the familiar stories give me comfort and peace. The more I drink from the pages, the deeper I thirst. Daniel’s steadfastness still amazes me. Esther’s and Ruth’s bravery still inspires me. Stephen’s stoning still gives me goosebumps. Paul’s transformation still gives me hope. Tell me again!

If you are blessed to be surrounded by loved ones tomorrow, pause between bites of turkey to tell a story. Someone needs to hear it.

Have a very thankful Thanksgiving!