Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Hands

I'm back in TN after a busy month or so which recently saw us in Orlando for Thanksgiving again with Tiffany.  The weekend before that we were in GA for my brother's wedding.  The proximity of those two events led to an interesting union in my head one night when it took a while to go to sleep and I wanted to share it with you.

First, I'm guessing most of us had an experience either as the elementary student or the parent of one that resulted in a finished project looking something like this.

Or perhaps this.

Both creative turkeys used little hands to make them and probably somewhere in the lesson taught was the giving of thanks for various aspects of life.

Fast forward to the weekend before Thanksgiving and picture time at my brother's wedding. Tiffany was able to fly in for the special occasion and did double (triple?) duty as the flower arranger, photographer, and creative support for me in helping make things look just right. One of her favorite pictures to see/take is of the bride and groom's hands as they show off their new rings. Picture #1 was taken and deemed quite acceptable...with one lone dissenter.

Having dealt with severe arthritis and its complications for most of her life, Carla grudgingly agreed that the picture was OK, even though we could tell she wasn't overly excited about it. It would have been easy to just keep going to the next planned picture because to the rest of us, she is a beautiful woman of God, both inside and out, and we didn't see a problem with the picture as it was. But John knew the heart of his new bride well, so he quietly took her hand again and held it tenderly in a new position for another picture.

At the time, I was moved by the sweet gesture of love that was expressed, but on that sleepless night I realized an even greater truth. Marriage is supposed to be the tangible example of God's love to His people here on earth, but in today's world a curious observer might conclude that as soon as we mess up, He's gone. Instead, the reality is that He tenderly accepts us not because we have no blemishes, but simply because we're His...and He loves us. We might not have a picture in an album to show that, but all we have to do is look at the cross of Jesus and the proof is there.

Congratulations, John and Carla as you begin your lives together and thank you for letting us be part of your special day!