Giving Thanks: A Study of Light


On Monday afternoon I went with my not-so-little Jeffrey and a good friend who also happens to be a photographer to take his senior pictures. We walked several blocks all over Charleston, stopping at mysterious places that seemed random to me but to my friend’s experienced eye held some special slant of beauty.  She’s been doing this a long time and makes amazing art, so I trusted her. I tagged along behind her purposeful steps, lugging off-camera lighting, a portable reflector, and sometimes discarded clothing from my son (“Layers,” I told him. “That’s how we’ll get the look we want.”)  At one point, as we stood on a quiet street in front of a colorful mural (only about a block away from my place of employment, but I never knew it was there. How do artists find these things?) my beautiful, talented friend stopped abruptly at the edge of the sidewalk while my son lumbered in the street.

“Wait.” She said. “Let me look at the light.”

She studied the sun play chiascuro over the patterned brick for a moment. “Okay,” she said. “Let’s go.”

This morning I rose before dawn and sat in my quiet place to watch the sun slip slow over the horizon—spilling grace on rooftops and frost-dipped grasses and washing the world in honeyed hues. As I reflected on all that I am thankful for, I remembered my friend’s words.

“Let me look at the light.”

I watched that amber glow bind up the rough edges of my every day world and I thought that choosing to give thanks must be a lot like looking for sunlight—illuminating beauty in even the darkest of life’s corners.

Isn’t this what we do when we engage in thanksgiving?

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come…No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God…It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens…to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens…(excerpt from President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, Oct. 3, 1863.)

Happy Thanksgiving, Beloveds. May you feast on the light of His love this day and always.

Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post Friday, November 25th, for a chance to win a signed copy of Kris Camealy’s Advent devotional Come Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting, a beautiful purple clutch purse, an Amethyst chip ring, and a lovely handcrafted Christmas ornament.



  1. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    Oh Laura, so beautiful (as always in the way only you could describe!), and light always sheds truth. I recall seeing “honeyed” light, as I loved identifying it, of all places in a cemetery. What comfort that brought me in what for me was a place of darkness and despair as I counted eighteen graves of loved ones I missed. But God sent me His honeyed light, and I was reminded both of His presence now and in what my loved ones were already experiencing in heaven (bright light, indeed)! And so serendipitous that you should quote our sixteenth president, whose tenure of serving America was surely shrouded in darkness during troubled times which make our own pale by comparison. Before reading your post, I had literally just read his entire proclamation, and don’t recall reading it before. It gives me hope that if he could see the light, we surely can. I love that photo of Jeffrey. For us, senior photos were simply a trip to a photographer in blue jeans and a white blouse (it was only a headshot after all). My how times have changed. But I love that now it’s a family affair offering time for fellowship and special creativity. You travel in talented circles. Love this photo–artsy and classy. I know this time having all your family home is special indeed. Savor the moments (and that turkey and stuffing!), and I wish you a most blessed, light-filled Thanksgiving!!! You are so special to me, and I thank God for you and your continual encouragement.

  2. says

    I love your reflection, Laura. And these words really spoke to me: “Let me look at the light.” Oh to make this our theme, our mantra for Advent and beyond! How might our lives look if we were people who always looked for the Light within our dark circumstances? Thank you for all the beautiful thoughts you share here! Hope your Thanksgiving was rich with gratitude and praise. Bless you, friend. xo

  3. says

    To read about light is to drink it in, a-fresh. To absorb the particular light in the room where I’m reading your reflection. And how stirring to read Lincoln’s words, too. I hope your Thanksgiving celebration filled you all to the brim with eternal pleasures as well as those of the table.

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