Even though I cannot for the life of me believe that we are already at the end of November, and that we're through Thanksgiving, and that there are less than 25 shopping days left until Christmas (or, from a liturgical standpoint, that this upcoming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent), I am happy to say that Thanksgiving was everything that a holiday should be (well, mostly...except for that whole pesky husband-in-New-Jersey thing).
I was feeling sad on Wednesday night, realizing that Matt was already in New Jersey with his family, and that both of my younger sisters were already home, while meanwhile, I was still all by my lonesome in Rockford. But I took advantage of the evening to clean up the apartment and to do some knitting.
Thursday morning was worship here at Trinity, complete with beautifully decorated sanctuary and a small but mighty congregation who sang their hearts out on the old favorite Thanksgiving hymns. After the service, I finished packing and jumped in the car to drive out to my parents' house. The five of us enjoyed a fabulous feast together:
After much eating and some movie watching (Funny Farm), we all hopped in the car and drove into the city to walk Michigan Avenue, see the lights, and experience the calm before the Black Friday storm. It was FREEZING, but that made it fun. We got hot chocolate and coffee at Ghirardelli, and wandered around. Everything was closed, but that hardly mattered. We window-shopped, huddled together, enjoyed the Christmas lights, and had quite the picturesque family Thanksgiving evening:
On Friday, I got up early and took the train into the city to meet some high school friends for brunch. It felt so incredibly nice to catch up with friends - no matter how many other people I've met since college, I still feel closest to my high school friends. I'm blessed to have these wonderful people in my life! We ate, and then a few of us braved the crowds and did some downtown shopping at Watertower Place and along Michigan Avenue. I have to say, even though there were tons of people, it was really fun to be there in the midst of the hustle and bustle - there was certainly a holiday feel in the air.
When I got back, I played some games with my family and started a bit of Christmas decorating before we all went out to dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday! Yummy Greek food...mmmm. Afterwards, we went back home and worked on one of our newer family Christmas traditions: decorating a homemade gingerbread house!
Saturday was sad, because we had to bring both my sisters back to the airport! In the midst of that, we did a bit of Christmas shopping, and I worked on a sermon, and we tried to eat up some leftovers. Then Saturday night, my parents came back with me to Rockford so that they could hear me preach yesterday! The sermon and the service went really well, and I loved being able to introduce my parents to all sorts of people here at Trinity. We ate a lovely brunch together, did some shopping, watched the Bears game...
Let me tell you, last night I was UNBELIEVABLY tired. But happy. This was a busy busy Thanksgiving and I loved it. I wish Matt could have been around! Because apart from that, I have to say that it really was the perfect Thanksgiving. Family time, friend time, simple pleasures: this is what the holidays should be. :)
(Check out the "Thanksgiving 2007" link in my sidebar for more Thanksgiving photo fun!)