Carlos was worried. He looked at his wife Nita and could see that she was unhappy. Holly and Joquin were miserable. Why shouldn’t they be, the family was supposed to be in New York for Thanksgiving. They had an amazing view of the Thanksgiving parade thanks to Carlos’ Mom’s apartment. Instead, they were stuck in a small airport outside of Toronto, snowed in.
It could have been a recipe for disaster, had it not been for a single sound, Holly heard a sneeze. She looked over to see a young boy crying. Holly, thirteen and afraid of nothing, went over to see what was wrong. Neil’s Aunt Paula explained. “His Dad is coming back from a tour overseas. This is going to be their first holiday together in four years. Now it looks like we may miss Thanksgiving.”
That was when everything changed. Holly looked at her Mom, Nita looked at Joquin, and they all looked at Carlos. He wasn’t sure what they were asking, but he instinctively agreed. Holly whispered something to Paula, who wrote something down and handed it to her. Holly promised she would be back, and made her way to the small restaurant in the airport.
Nita went with her, and in a few minutes, they gave Carlos and Joquin their instructions. For an hour, they made their way to every store and person in the airport. Everyone agreed to help and soon, Neil could hear music coming from the far end of the airport. Before he knew it, he was watching a make shift Thanksgiving Parade filled with security guards, home made costumes, and one man who was handing toys out from the gift shop.
The music came from assorted smart phones, portable speakers, and a few singing travelers. Everyone knows that the last float in a Thanksgiving parade is Santa Claus, so naturally Neil looked for a make shift sleigh. What he saw was more than he could have expected. It wasn’t a sleigh, there were no reindeer. It was a small cart with a tablet computer, and on the screen wasn’t Santa Claus.
“Hi sport, I told you we’d be together on Thanksgiving.” Neil and John wiped the tears away as they talked. “I just wish it was in the same room.” “It will be, but don’t worry. Grandma is keeping the dinner warm, we’ve taped the parade, we’ll still celebrate Thanksgiving together.” “But I won’t get there until tomorrow.”
John smiled. “Son, it doesn’t matter what time you get here. I’m so thankful to be with you, and I intend to give you all the love in the world. Do you know what that means?” “What?” “That Thanksgiving isn’t about a day, a parade, or a dinner, it’s about being thankful for the people that God has placed into our lives.”
The two talked for almost an hour, and then all the stranded passengers were guests of a make shift Thanksgiving dinner. The little restaurant was a hamburger place, so the closest thing to Thanksgiving was an apple pie milkshake. It didn’t matter, one little girl had rescued everyone’s Thanksgiving.
The next day the snow let up, and soon everyone was on their way. No one felt cheated, or sad, it wasn’t the Thanksgiving anyone planned, but it was what they needed. For years to come everyone that spent Thanksgiving in that airport would cherish both it, and every Thanksgiving that followed.
They were reminded, Thanksgiving isn’t a commercial holiday, it isn’t about the turkey. It’s the people, not the side dishes that matter. The day isn’t measured by how big the floats are, or how well dressed Santa is. Instead, our Thanksgiving is a success when we review the parade of blessings that God has placed in our lives.