I know, I’m in Canada and we did Thanksgiving last month. See “Thoughts for Food” on that! But my American sisters are all excited about their (the original Thanksgiving) day. It does seem like so much hoopla and forced merriment at times, all nostalgia and over-the-river in a horsedrawn sleigh, which most people have never experienced or even seen! It does evoke an America that barely existed in one region for a very short period of time. But, hey, everyone loves a big meal.
Although I don’t, really. I make a big meal every night, almost, with working men to feed in the house. It’s just food. And Thanksgiving, like most holiday meals, is hours (sometimes days) of preparation, and about fifteen minutes of eating. Then there’s a lot of talk about which part of the turkey was best, how no one really likes the yams, why bread-and-sage stuffing is better than something else, etc. I wish there was some way to slow down the meal, so that we could savour it, enjoy it, talk a little more. I’ve usually spent lots of time in the kitchen, getting ready, and I am wounded when the meal is devoured and everyone is back in the living room, watching the game within minutes. (Note that this doesn’t happen anymore, but holiday meals here are simpler than they were in the past.) So the big get-together is often a bust.
Nicholas said recently that if we want a Thanksgiving meal, we just have to go to church on First Day. The Eucharist is the ultimate family get-together. It is the perfect Thanksgiving, when we receive everything through Our Lord, and we pray in humility and heartfelt thanks. It is the meal everyone can share, anywhere, when they have been received into the family of God. Our offerings there are the first-fruits, and they do the work of God in the world. Or they should. If the Church is not doing that, then questions need to be asked and answers demanded. If we are holding back from God, we are coming to the dinner table with a grievance of some sort, an unconfessed sin, an unforgiven wrong. It’s like going home for the holidays and picking up the old feud with your brother. Not the most pleasant dinner topic, is it? So don’t come home to the Lord’s Supper with ill-will against God nor Man.
This year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas (better called the Nativity of Our Lord) lets try to include more of the family – those who are hungry, homeless, ill, desperate, dying. Have a look at the Advent Consipracy on the ‘net. It is time to do more, not less.