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Thanksgiving Promise

My granddaughter was with the heavenly angels, I had no doubt. But would anything ever seem right in this world?

Heavenly angels deliver Thanksgiving message

Our family needed to come together more than ever that fall. I decided to have Thanksgiving at my house.

I hadn’t fixed a formal dinner in months, and I had a full set of white stoneware in my china cabinet just begging to be used: plates, salad plates, cups and saucers, creamer, sugar bowl, butter dish—the works. A week in advance, I made out my grocery list, including ingredients for my special fruit punch. It had been my granddaughter’s favorite.

Amanda, 20 years old, had lost her life in a car accident in the spring. She had visited with me the very evening before she died. Amanda was in heaven, I had no doubt. But would anything ever seem right in this world? Not without any more visits from Amanda.

The entire family was bereft. She was my daughter’s only child, and we were all very close. I hoped our holiday together would be of some comfort.

I busied myself with shopping, then turned my attention to our Thanksgiving table. I removed the dishes from the china cabinet—every last one—and ran them through the dishwasher. It took me two loads to fit all the pieces of my service for 12. When the dishes were dry, I set them out on the table.

I fussed for a while, arranging the centerpiece, the place settings and serving pieces just so. The salt and pepper shakers and the gravy boat had to be within easy reach. I prepared the side dishes, cooking and freezing them, returning to the table now and again to admire it.

Early Thanksgiving morning, with the turkey already in the oven, I made a final inspection of my table. Soon my guests would arrive and our whole family would be seated around it.

Everyone but Amanda, I thought. Tears filled my eyes. God, let me feel your comforting presence today.

I dried my tears and laid the rolls out on a baking sheet. I took a stick of butter from the fridge. I lifted the lid on the butter dish. A folded piece of paper lay inside, a letter dated 1997. How did this get in here? I had to catch my breath. The letter was from Amanda.

“Dear Grandma…” I could hear Amanda’s sweet voice as I read. “Promise to keep my secret about Mom’s surprise.” I remembered. My generous granddaughter had spent too much money on a special Christmas gift that year. I had kept my promise to her to this day.

Then I reached the end of the letter. “Well, I hate goodbyes, so I’ll just say, See you later. Love, Amanda.”

I folded the letter and held it to my heart. I can’t explain how it made its way into the butter dish on Thanksgiving Day. All I know is I received the exact message I needed to hear, at the moment I needed it most. I had much to be thankful for. I’d kept my promise to my granddaughter, and God would see to it that she kept her promise to me. It’s his promise to us all. “See you later,” Amanda said. I’m counting on it.

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