Thanksgiving was not about turkey, taking naps, or touchdowns on the tube for me this year, wonderful though all of those things were. Rather, my driveway was full and so was my heart, and for that I gave thanks.
The gravel entrance to our home has a large extension on the side, a turn-around area so that cars parked in the garage can be backed out and pointed towards the road before heading that way. As each of our sons started driving and eventually acquired a car of his own, the space was widened so that their three vehicles could fit at the end of it side by side.
The driveway thus became a barometer of how things stood in the house whenever I came home from wherever I’d been. One glance to the left as I pulled into the garage gave me a good idea of who I might find lounging on the couch inside or foraging in the fridge for food. I especially loved the sense of satisfaction that came over me when I arrived home from a late shift at work and watched my headlights bounce off of three shiny bumpers in turn, indicating that my boys were all safely home. But soon their bedtimes outdistanced mine, and I came to realize that cars in the drive merely meant they hadn’t left yet for the night’s activities. Instead of counting heads in beds in the mornings I’d just peek out the window and count cars in parking spots to reassure myself that all was still well in my world.
So it was difficult for me when the silver Civic and the black truck took off this fall, bearing portions of my heart to distant states for months at a time. The remaining Accord looked a little lost and lonely in that vast expanse of gravel, but the empty spots inside and out of the house were indeed occasionally filled with the noise and laughter of visiting friends who rejoiced that at long last they didn’t have to park on the grass! Still, the change made us look to a Thanksgiving reunion with special anticipation. While the many holiday photos posted online pictured feasts on tables, friends in the kitchen and at least a few family members snoring away on living room couches, so my simple snapshot of three cars in the driveway spoke of a grateful heart filled to overflowing once more.
Early on in the holiday planning it had seemed impractical for my youngest son who now lives in Florida to drive such a long way for just a short holiday, and so he planned to stay and celebrate with family friends in the area. But his brother couldn’t bear the thought of his not being home and offered to buy him an airline ticket himself, despite his own limited resources. In the end his father paid the price to bring his son home.
Surely we shouldn’t let Thanksgiving go by without remembering that our spiritual Brother and Father have done the same. So desperately did Jesus desire that we all gather at the table for the future Feast that He willingly gave all He had to make a way for us to get there. In the end God Himself paid our travel expenses with the life of his Son. And now He wants you to know that there’s a parking spot in Heaven with your name on it, a place reserved just for you…a slot for your soul. And more anxiously than any earthly parent waits for their child to arrive is your heavenly Father looking and longing for you to fill it.
Make it safely Home.
“…I go to prepare a place for you…so that where I am, you may be also.”
(John 14:2-3 MKJV)