Whew! Last week was a busy one. Not only did I “drop the blog,” I fell behind on NaNoWriMo. I’ll be scrambling to make up for those days missed during the rest of the month; and planning this week’s Thanksgiving feast, and making Christmas lists, and doing our family picture, and hauling all the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the crawl space.
(Didn’t we just put them away?)
Anyway, as this is Thanksgiving week, and everyone is blogging and tweeting and messaging about Thanksgiving, and making lovely lists about all the things they are thankful for, I have a confession to make…
Thanksgiving is NOT my favorite holiday.
I know, I know. That’s practically a sacriligious statement, but I can’t help it. I’ve never been all that fond of the annual feast of the bird that seems to have become a massive celebration of gluttony. The preparation of mass quantities of food that find their way to the back of the fridge only to be discarded in a biohazard receptacle right before we do it all again at Christmas does not thrill me.
And so yesterday afternoon, while I laid out our menu plan and grocery list for the week, I came upon an article in the Howell County News
by publisher Kim Wehmer titled “Getting Ready to Give Thanks – What’s On Your Shopping List?” (You can read the whole article here.)
And then I heard about the shortage of canned pumpkin that threatens the very fiber of our Thanksgiving celebrations: pumpkin pie. Whatever will we do? Will it even feel like a real Thanksgiving if we have to pumpkin pie? If we’re missing the pie, why bother to celebrate?
(Yes, that’s sarcasm you hear in the tone of my typing.)
Thanksgiving and tradition are almost synonymous. Traditions are part of what make holidays special. The annual revisiting of smells and flavors and sights and textures that remind us of family, friends, and happy memories.
Wehmer’s article points out that the first Thanksgiving feast wasn’t traditional at all, nor did most of our current foodie traditions spring forth from that famous meal, a joining of two different cultures around the theme of thanking their Creator for supplying their needs.
“Historical accounts say that for the first Thanksgiving in 1621, the pilgrims went out and killed the deer to eat and gathered food for the three-day feast.There were no worries about what groceries had what on sale. Why? Because they ate what they had and gave thanks for it.
I’m not encouraging you to stay home from the grocery store this week. I’m not encouraging you to boycott Thanksgiving grocery sales.
Instead, I’m encouraging you to take some time to remember the reason for the holiday.
The pilgrims threw a feast like no other because they were thankful.”
I want you to imagine something: consider the status of your pantry and refrigerator right now. Whether it’s full (because you are one of those wonderfully well-organized creatures who has already done the Thanksgiving shopping excursion) or empty. Now, imagine the following scenario: Thanksgiving has suddenly been moved up two days. You’ll be creating your holiday meal for all your family, friends, and a number of strangers, from what you have on hand.
All your guests will be bringing food as well, from the things they have on hand. There are no rules, no preconceived notions of what will be on the menu, it’s just going to be a massive pot luck.
Maybe it’s just me, but this idea intrigues me. How much more would I be able to celebrate God’s abundance, His mercy to provide the means to make another meal, if the food itself wasn’t the primary attention-getter of the day?
What if I wasn’t worried that I can’t make the stuffed celery the way my husband always had it at his house, or that I forgot to get the ingredients for the marshmallow salad, or will I lay aside my own family tradition of giblet gravy and use that nasty stuff in the jar because no one will eat the giblet gravy except me? What if none of that mattered? That’s the point. None of that does matter.
But we may have to do something drastic – like have an impromptu come-as-you-are pot luck gathering or leave off all the traditional foods – and try something new. Do something to get your mind and body out of the ruts created by years of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and over into a place of truly being thankful for all that we’ve been given. What could it be? What do you do to stir up a thankful heart during this holiday feast for yourself and for your family?