Tropical beaches and hot humid weather are not what you typically picture for Thanksgiving. However, in the fall of 2014 I found myself in Lajas, Puerto Rico, away from my family and friends for the holiday. After college I served as a missionary to college students in the Caribbean and was on a ten month stint. Part of the commitment was not going home for the holidays.
Learning about a new culture and experiencing how my Puerto Rican friends celebrated Thanksgiving was so exciting. We ate pernil and arroz con gandules rather than turkey and mashed potatoes. It was delicious, but it wasn't the same. At the end of the day, I was still very homesick and missed being in California with my loved ones. Because of this experience, I realized how much I had taken for granted over the years. Little moments like being able to give my grandpa a hug or play charades with my cousins were the things I missed the most.
As this holiday season quickly approaches, my desire for you and me is that we wouldn't miss these small moments or take them for granted. We don't have to wait till they're taken away from us to realize what a gift they are. We can appreciate them now. This Thanksgiving, I want to invite you to join me in pausing and praising God for all he's done for us and given us.
Middle School Teacher
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