This week we celebrate being grateful. Thursday is the actual Thanksgiving Day, which commemorates how the pilgrims gave thanks for surviving a harsh winter and a bountiful harvest. Sometimes I think we see this day as just about eating turkey, watching the parade and of course football. It also ushers in the start of the holiday shopping season. Too often, we get so wrapped up in all of the events and food that we forget the reason Thanksgiving exists. This day is not a religious holiday. It is an American day of gratefulness. That being said, everyday should be a day that we celebrate being alive, being free and able to speak as well as protest and hold free elections. There is so much we should be grateful for each and every day.
What does it mean to be hemmed in? What proof is there that God surrounds me? One morning as I sat on my deck, with my coffee, it occurred to me that I was surrounded by God’s handiwork. There were trees swaying in the breeze, the grass was a lush green carpet, the blackbirds were squawking overhead, and the water was blue and gently lapping at the shore. I felt the warm air on my face and it became real to me that God completely surrounded me with his great work in creation. As the sun began to rise, I felt its warmth and imagined in that heat, I was in the presence of the creator. I was hemmed in.
The scripture goes on to include me in the created world as the next verses say this, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”
God’s hands knit me together. I try to imagine God’s hands forming and shaping me together and it reminds me of my first knitting lesson. My sister was clever with her hands. She sewed most of her clothes, she cooked, and she could knit and crochet too. I on the other hand spent most of my time outside playing sports with my brothers. My mom wanted to raise well-rounded daughters so she thought it would be a good idea for me to learn how to knit. I don’t know what she was thinking! I would have to sit and concentrate and be patient all at the same time. Under my mom’s encouragement, my sister agreed to teach me how to knit a pair of slippers. So off to the store we went to buy some yarn. I had no idea there were so many colors. There was a vast array of reds, greens, blues, and yellows. So many colors, so little time. After looking and touching the different yarns, I chose a soft yellow for my slippers. Much to my surprised, before we could start the actual knitting, I had to carefully roll the yarn into a ball to prevent it from becoming a knotted mess. Once that was completed, we could finally start knitting. Patiently my sister described and demonstrated each of the steps. My hands and mind were completely involved in the process. We followed a pattern; it went like this, knit one, pearl one, knit two, pearl two. I continually had to maneuver the needles through the yarn and eventually the slippers began to take shape. Once the pattern was completed, my sister showed me how to stitch the sides and the toe area together to create the sheath for the foot. Oh yes, let’s not forget the most fun part of the slipper, the puffy tassel. When one slipper was completed, I had to start the process all over again to create a complete pair of slippers. Let me just say that it was the one and only pair of slippers that was ever created by my hands. Considering how much time it took me, I can only imagine how much time God took in knitting me together with all of my intricate parts. Just like me, having to patiently work through the process by touching each thread, holding needles, and following the pattern, made me realize that God, when knitting me together, was familiar with every part of me too. It makes me realize that I must be very important to God.
This entire chapter shows me that I am surrounded in God’s love. Even in my toughest moments, God’s Spirit is never hidden from me but remains faithfully within me. God is not limited by my understanding and knowledge of him. The Psalmist writes that God knows everything about me including all of the mistakes and missteps I have done and loves me anyway. In this week of thanksgiving, I want to spend some time thanking God for knitting me together, and for the world around me, and for the friends and family who love me, and for the people who challenge me to be a better human being. I am grateful for you!