The Ultimate Gift of Thanks

The I had been out of work for a while and with three small kids at home it was getting difficult to just put food on the table much less paying all the bills. The week of Thanksgiving was quickly approaching. Becky and I and our family were not looking forward to dealing with a house full of relatives for the holidays as we normally do. Becky was the only one working at the time so it got us by, but we were behind on everything, especially grocery shopping. Becky worked part time at a Christian school for a large church in town. She had been there for over 10 years and was liked by all. Her peers were all ladies that had taught school and worked together for many years and had a close bond together. They were very encouraging to Becky and I through this jobless ordeal we were experiencing.
Towards the end of the day, Becky came walking in from parking the car and came in through the kitchen door from the garage. She was sobbing with tears running down her face, extremely emotional. I was shocked and nervous as she tried to utter out words of what had happened. All she could manage to get out was “go look at the car”. I instantly thought car wreck and asked if she was alright. She could only cry profusely and utter the words again “go look at the car”.
I headed for the garage as she followed me still crying. I looked all around the outside for damage and the car was not damaged. I remember her pointing and then saying to look in the back of the car. I peaked in the rear windows and could not figure out what was there. Back then our car was a large four door station wagon with the third seat that faced backwards. I rolled down the back window and peered in. There, with all the seats folded down to the front seat, were bags and bags and bags of groceries. Each bag was overflowing with food and condiments. I looked at Becky and asked “Where did all this come from?”, and she started crying again and all she could get out was “work”.
We started unloading all the bags, carrying them to the kitchen. By the time we got them all in, the kitchen counters were covered with bags all around the room. There were turkeys, hams, and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal to die for. There was so much food we could not fit it all in the food pantry cabinets. We had never had that much food, even when we were both working fulltime. This was an incredible miracle, and just in time for Thanksgiving.
Becky finally stopped crying long enough to explain how this could happen. Being in work environment where there was a close bond, she had mentioned to the other staff that I was out of work and how things were tight at home. My wife is not a beggar and I am sure she was just venting and looking for some encouragement. Without her knowing it, the director of the school sent notice to all the teachers a few days earlier asking them to bring a bag of groceries to the school without Becky seeing or knowing it. At some point in the day they filled her car up with all the food and when it was time to leave, the car was full. When Becky got out to her car, there she saw all the bags filling the whole station wagon. She then drove home, crying all the way in thanksgiving for this generous offer of love, still crying when she got home and walked in the kitchen and greeting me like that. You now know how we got to that point in the story.
That day we learned a new lesson about thanksgiving and what giving was all about. A blessing beyond belief had been poured out on our family by a simple gesture of a bag of groceries by so many givers. I am sure that when asked, the ladies thought a bag of food was no big deal. Multiply that by dozens of people and you have a huge blessing. To top it all off, it was during the time of year we celebrate Thanksgiving. That simple gesture of giving carried us through one of the most difficult times our family has ever experienced, being jobless. Never discount the fact that a small gift can be taken by God and be multiplied to meet a big need.
We will never forget the day that Becky came home crying profusely, and I thinking she had a wrecked the car only to find it was full of food. Now every year at our house for Thanksgiving, we load up with people. We invite all the family, their spouses, their kids, their friends, our parents, sisters, whoever can come we invite to join us each year. The house is overfull and there is not enough room for everyone. Some cook, some bring food, some clean, some just sit around, but we are all together. For us Thanksgiving is about giving back. The house is full, chaotic, noisy, people everywhere, but somehow we manage to sit them all down for a Thanksgiving meal together. I believe that day back when our car got filled with food, it changed our lives forever.
Another day we will never forget is when Becky came home again with the car filled with food, crying profusely again just a few weeks later. Yes, they did it twice!