It's not about the third Thursday in November...
"Happy Thanksgiving" or "Happy Turkey Day?" My sister is one who says the latter rather than the former. I kind of find it odd being she is such a detailed history buff. This annual celebration traces it's roots to a time shortly after the Mayflower arrived near the Plymoth shore, delivering some of the first European settlers. I know they struggled and many would have perished if not for the Native American Indian's who came to their aid. I'm sure my sister would have much to add to these very simple statements. For Christians, I believe this holiday also symbolizes God's provision, favor and prosperity - definitely reasons to be thankful. Bounty is relegated to other parts of the earth besides just Israel (don't misunderstand, I am pro Israel!).
To me, Thanksgiving in a sense, is something we should observe every day. I'm sure most can find one or more reasons each day to be thankful. Having a heart of gratitude is a good quality, an admirable attitude to posses. This year in particular with the economy and the various affects it's had on various people, perhaps mustering up reason for thanks is a bit more challenging but I hope to encourage others to dig deep, if necessary. I hope those who are facing tough times know others who are available to help and provide loving support. We need one another and I know people in Socialist countries may not quite understand this reality since Socialist systems of government provide for the people rather than people having to look out for one another.
My husband and I for a handful of years now, have hoped to be able to either upgrade to a larger home or build an addition. Our financial picture hasn't yet enabled us to do this. I'm grateful however for a roof over our heads. We still have it pretty good if I were to contemplate others who have lost jobs, homes, health....and then there are those living in poorer countries in other parts of the world. I'm thankful for my God, my family and friends, my freedoms.
I love having a day of cooking together with my husband. He typically does the turkey and the gravy. We hardly eat all day, just nibble on appetizers so we can stuff ourselves silly when the time comes. I prepare the candied yams, green bean casserole, mashed potatos and stuffing. Thomas (my husband) will make pies (if company we've invited doesn't intend to) and one of us will either make a salad or steam an additional green vegetable. The only thing we don't make from scratch are rolls and cranberry sauce - we buy canned jellied or whole. I like both but the jellied variety has sentimental value to me since my dad and Uncle Craig used to try and position themselves to ensure they would have first crack (pardon the Hawaiian slang) at getting the "ring" (the impression left from the can). I know there are two of these but of course us kids had to get in on the action.
And then there is the subject of carbs...I love carbs but carbs do make me put on the "LB's." Green bean casserole, mashed potatos, pumpkin pie are just a few dishes my mom would label as "comfort food," Thanksgiving holiday tradition or not. This is one time of year I don't feel guilty about splurging this way....I expect, anticipate and enjoy it.
This takes me to the topic of gluttony.....the same sister who says, "Happy Turkey Day" is model thin and shapely...she is a vegetarian and just grazes throughout the day. I suppose this is something each person has their own personal convictions about. I'm not a fan of gluttony....I remember Jreuters hub about eating contests and although I can be a hearty eater who does so with gusto (relishing every bite), I do personally see this as taking eating to an extreme level....has anyone else in regards to this asked themselves if there is much distinction between the human and the swine? We must remember we were created in His image....
Should any feel guilty about choosing to celebrate the day in a fashion which may personally symbolize abundance, provision, prosperity and a little over indulgence? For me, absolutely not. This brings to mind the subject of Holy Communion. I think about the passover tradition, the last supper and how these men feasted. For my fellow Christ worshippers, have you participated in communion and felt jipped by the teency weency little juice cup and the dinky wafer or piece of bread? I know, some churches have you tear off a piece from a large loaf.... so reader, if that's you, I hope you take a big hunk! Anyway, I have to share with you about the best communion experience I've participated in to date.....less than a hanful of days ago some friends and I gathered to worship, pray, share things God layed on our hearts (teach) etc. We ended by 'breaking bread together.' My friends who hosted the gathering in their home passed out whole, large, warm pieces of flat bread and a full wine goblet of juice (and for me, it could have been a full bodied red wine since I know and enjoy this freedom; yet in taking wisdom into consideration, I did have a 45 minute drive!). Anyway, as we tore pieces of the bread and began to eat, we spontaneously declared to God - and one another - what we are thankful for. Each of our hearts overflowed with joy. God wants us to experience Him abundantly - life abundant - it's what Christ came to give us. He doesn't want to tease us with just a little taste and leave us feeling unsatisfied. It was a glorious time.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I hope however and with whomever others celebrate, it will be a time spent reflecting on and appreciating the blessings in life.