This week we had a little bit of Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Let me back up a bit and explain:
Laurie has made it a tradition for Mother’s Day that in the years they are here in the United States she puts on, with the assistance of her daughters, an amazing “Four Generation Picnic” for my mother and me as our gift. Several times we had it at a botanical garden, other times at a nice park. One year, when my mother would have had difficulty walking at a park, they did a beautiful tea party for us at my mother’s condo with teapots and dainty tea cups and an awesome assortment of pastries and salads. Laurie always goes all out with the decorations and theme, as well as delicious food. One year the theme was “Memories.” The tables were decorated with Victorian flowers and ceramic “antiques”—vintage telephone, camera, typewriter, etc. The kids made us cards that recalled some of their favorite memories with Grandma and Grammy. Another year they did a beach theme and decorated with sea shells. Each year Mom and I eagerly look forward to what they have in store for us this time.
They did not arrive back in the States this year until the end of June, but Laurie had told her grandma and me on Mother’s Day that they were planning on doing the Four Generation Picnic for us when they got here. The summer months were so blazing hot here, though, and we older women couldn’t handle being out in the heat that long, so it got pushed back until the weather cooled down. By then they were traveling every week to their supporting churches, so it got postponed a little longer. Finally this week they decided to have it no matter what—but now the weather was too cold and blustery to have it outside. Once again our “picnic” was back at Grammy’s condo.
Picnic? It was more like a feast! I was banished from my kitchen the day before as Laurie and the kids prepared the food. It was all a big secret, and when I did have to go out there I had to avert my eyes so I wouldn’t see anything. The next day Grammy and I could not peek until they were finished decorating
Finally—“Welcome to our ‘Grateful for YOU’ Four Generation Picnic,” Laurie said as we stepped into the dining room. The table was an impressive vision of autumnal splendor all decorated with red, gold and orange leaves. Delicious aromas wafted from the beautiful dishes on the table. There was a pineapple glazed ham, a casserole of party potatoes and another of corn pudding. A spinach salad embellished with raspberries, blackberries and cranberries, as well as nuts and sunflower seeds, beckoned. A pumpkin cheesecake and apricot/cranberry pie waited on the sidelines for dessert.
Sara proudly told me that she had made the pie, complete with little leaf-shaped cutouts from pie crust to adorn the top. Gabi had made the cheesecake. Melissa had helped both her sisters and did much of the clean-up. Katie had helped with the salad and Matthew had helped stir the corn pudding. They were so proud of their handiwork and excited about how much fun it had been. I must confess—you would not have found more beautiful and delicious food in the fanciest gourmet restaurant! I was proud of them, too!
After the feast the kids gave Grammy and me sweet cards they had made saying how grateful they were for us. Laurie gave us each a lovely card, as well, and wrote a beautiful, heartfelt note inside. And then she had a little activity planned for us.
By coincidence, Laurie and I had recently been looking over our family tree (which goes back as far as the 1400’s) and looking at old photos of previous generations (several of which were from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and went back at least five generations. One, however, was taken sometime before 1849, in the early days of the camera.) Laurie decided that since the decorations had been autumn leaves and trees it would be fun to introduce the kids to our family tree and help them start filling in their own family tree. She borrowed Grammy’s original old photos and a photo album of more recent generations and showed them in pictures how the generations connected. It was interesting and fun and the kids seemed to enjoy it.
Laurie quoted Psalm 145:4 in the card she gave me. It says, “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.” It thrills my heart to see my children teaching their children about the Lord, just as I am sure it made my mother and grandmother happy to see their children and grandchildren following the Lord, too. As I look back at the generations of my past, and glean little bits of information here and there about them, I can see that many of my ancestors knew the Lord, as well.
Throughout the Old Testament God told His people to teach His commandments and law from generation to generation. He told Abraham that His covenant with him would be an everlasting covenant passed on to all his generations to come. “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:7) He also told His people that when they walked away from Him, the iniquity of the father would be laid “upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” (Exodus 20:5)
Psalm 78 says, “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” (vs 1-4, 6, 7) Over and over He tells us to pass on to future generations His Word, His commandments, His greatness and His works and all that we know about Him.
Psalm 71:18 says, “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come.” I will be sixty years old this week and although I am not greyheaded (thanks to my hairdresser, that is!) it is not only my responsibility, but my privilege and joy to share with my grandchildren what I know about the Lord and living for Him. After all, He has promised, “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:50) Thank you, Lord!