This coming week many of us will be gathering together with friends and relatives to celebrate Thanksgiving. As we do so, we need to remember this meal, this Thanksgiving. This is where God is teaching us how to celebrate Thanksgiving. This is where God is teaching us how to eat together and live together in true community. The only way for there to be true communion, true fellowship, sharing a meal together with joy is through the cross. This is because the cross of Christ truly deals with sin, and this means that the past can be dealt with. The past can be forgiven, and not only may you have a new beginning with God but also with one another. At this table, God gives us Sabbath. He forgives past failures and He receives our feeble efforts: all the fruit of His own Spirit in our lives. And He strengthens us for the future, for tomorrow. He promises to give us His Spirit to comfort us and help us for the coming week. Sabbath is a safe place between the past and the future. Sabbath is a safe place between the past that frequently haunts us and the future that frequently terrifies us. And God invites us to imitate Him and His Sabbath as we go out into the world, being Sabbath to and for one another and the world. This means forgiving those who have wronged you and offering them a new start, forgetting their past and offering to walk with them into the future. This is particularly challenging when it’s your own parents, your own children, or brothers or sisters or aunts and uncles and grandparents. It’s easy to imagine being merciful and gracious to faceless people in the abstract. But those closest to us are usually the most challenging to love and forgive. The point isn’t merely that you should be nice to people and give them second chances. Don’t the pagans down you street try to do the same? Won’t they have Thanksgiving dinners too? No, the point is that our meals, our Thanksgivings must in some way come to share the same Sabbath that God grants us here. So as you prepare for Thanksgiving and as you prepare for every meal with your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, whoever, bring Sabbath with you. Come ready to forgive, ready to read the past with love so that you can walk into the future together in the Spirit.